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Sent in by:
Sam of Port Dover, ON

A hot invention that makes for very cool science.

Materials Needed

  • 16-ounce plastic bottle
  • warm water
  • food coloring
  • clear plastic straw
  • clay
  • bowl of ice
  • marker



  1. First fill the bottle to the very top with warm water and color it with a few drops of food coloring.
  2. Put 1/3 of the straw into the bottle. Use clay to seal the bottle closed so that the straw sticks straight up. When you do this, you'll see some water go up the straw.
  3. Mark off the water level in the straw so that you know where it was when you started.
  4. Stick the bottle in the bowl of ice and watch what happens to the level of water in the straw.

Now it's time for you to experiment. Think of a question that you'd like answered. Like, what would happen if you built a thermometer using different sized bottles or bottles made of different materials? Write down what you thought was going to happen and what actually did happen and then send your reports to our special feedback area. Share your results with the world, right here at ZOOM!

Some of your Results

Grade 2, age 6 of Edmonton, AB wrote:
We did this experiment but we used film canisters. You have to make sure you seal the hole carefully with plastercine. We used really hot water and cold water with ice. It worked really well.

Esmeralda of San Antonio, TX wrote:
When I put food coloring in the water, it turned red and the level of water almost got to the top.

Esmeralda of San Antonio, TX wrote:
When I put the food coloring on the water, it turned red and the level of water in the straw almost got to the top.

Shawn, age 9 of Cincinnati, OH wrote:
it went to 35f degrees.

Becky, age 10 of Fairfield, OH wrote:
After my friends and I did this at school, it went up 20 notches.

Shashatha, age 9 of Dubai / Sharjah wrote:
When I put the thermometer in cold water it went down, the opposite happened when I put it in the hot water.

Yelaine, age 8 wrote:
When you bring the thermometer in the snow, it will be 300 celsius. When you bring the thermometer to the hot weather, it will be 23, 0000 degrees farenheight.

Antanaye, age 11 of Los Angeles, CA wrote:
When I put it and a cold ice box it went down and when I put it by the heater it went up.

Darius, age 10 of Sherbrooke, NS wrote:
It went up when you added hot water.

Brinley, age 11 of Hunlock Creek, PA wrote:
When I put it in the cold water, it went down but when I put it in the warm water it sure went up.

Rosa, age 10 of Dartmouth, NS wrote:
It looked so cool. First I put it into the frezer and it lowered so I took it out befor it frozed. And than I turned the Heater on and put the thermometer on it and the thermometer went higher up into the.

Ivana, age 11 of Bellevile, NJ wrote:
The tempature rises so the water rises in the straw. It was so cool! When it got colder the tempature lowered so the water in the straw went down. The science project is amazing! I was so amazed!

Beverly, age 10 of Suitland, MD wrote:
When we put the ice in it became lower, when we boiled it became higher and when we put the straw in it also became higher.

Brriana, age 8 of Long Beach, CA wrote:
I saw how the mercury stick(red)went up when hot breath was going into it. I also saw how it went down when I blew cold air after sucking on coold ice.

Isala, age 12 of Chicago, IL wrote:
The temperature changed by going down when I put the ice in the bucket. When I started out it was 74 degrees in the classroom and at 2/3 full in the straw and after I put the ice in it went down to 1/3 full in the straw.

Daniel, age 8 of San Diego, CA wrote:
I put it out in the backyard. It does not get very cold here in the winter. The water level rose. It was very cool.

Klarissa, age 6 of Puyallup, WA wrote:
It worked really good for the outside during the Summer months when it wasn't to wet or humid. The thermometer of the experiment lasted longer then I ever would have thought to last. It lasted about a month, then it was starting to crack.

Ava, age 6 of Clinton, TN wrote:
When we put the bottle in ice water the water in the straw got lower. Then we put it in some hot water and it stayed the same, so we put it in a pot of water on the stove and it got higher and higher in the straw 'till it came out the top of the straw.

Kelly, age 11 of Rosemead, CA wrote:
Thanks for the experiment. When I tried it, the water went up from the hot water and when I put it in my bowl, it dropped strait down like there wasn't any gravity in the bottle, but of course there wasn't any gravity because the bottle was all filled up with water. Thanks again for sending this in.

Linda, age 13 of Milwaukee, WI wrote:
The thermometer worked it went up when we put it in cold ice and when we took it out the water level went down thankes zoomers.

Ryan, age 11 wrote:
Thank you for the idea of the thermometor. My results were great when I put it in the cold ice bowl and it dropped some.

Leahm, age 8 of Richmond, VA wrote:
When I put it in the snow it went down alot! When I put it under the lamp it did nothing. Maybe I need to find a warmer place.

Juan, Carlos, Miguel, age 11 wrote:
First we filled the bottle with warm water and added food coloring. It turned purple. We put the straw in and put the playdough around 1/3. Then we put ice around the bottom. The water was up and then it went way down.

Jolyn, age 10 of Sandy, OR wrote:
When I put my brothers lamp on the Thermometer the food coloring and water the tempiture got hotter and hotter! It was cool!

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