Traveling Through Different Liquids

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Learners observe and record what happens when they manipulate bottles containing a liquid (water or corn syrup) and one or more objects (screw, nail, paper clip). They should observe differences in how quickly the objects fall in the different liquids. This lesson builds on what learners have studied in previous lessons, Exploring Liquids and Exploring How Liquids Behave.

Quick Guide

Preparation Time:
5 to 10 minutes

Learning Time:
30 to 45 minutes

Estimated Materials Cost:
$1 - $5 per group of students

Age Range:
Ages 4 - 8

Resource Types:
Activity, Experiment/Lab Activity, Lesson/Lesson Plan


Materials List (per group of students)

  • 12 identical clear plastic or glass bottles with caps
  • Light Karo (corn) syrup
  • Water
  • 4 identical small screws
  • 4 identical small nails
  • 4 identical paper clips
  • 1 small bowl with water
  • 1 small bowl with Karo syrup


  • Mathematics
    • Measurement
      • Rate
  • Physical Sciences
    • States of Matter
      • Liquids
  • The Nature of Science
    • The Scientific Process
      • Asking Questions
      • Conducting Investigations
      • Gathering Data


To use this activity, learners need to:

  • see
  • see color
  • touch

Learning styles supported:

  • Involves hands-on or lab activities


Components that are part of this resource:

This resource is part of:

Access Rights:

  • Free access


  • Janulaw, Sharon


  • All rights reserved, The University of California Museum of Paleontology, Berkeley, and The Regents of the University of California, 2010

Funding Source:

  • National Science Foundation, EAR-0624436