Science for Kids: Baggie and Pencil Magic

baggie and pencil header

Welcome to another Science Invitation Saturday where we explore science for kids! Last week we explored sound.  This week we are doing a simple experiment with a plastic baggie and a pencil.

Materials:
  • plastic baggie
  • sharp pencil
  • water
Procedure:
  1. Fill a baggie about 3/4 of the way full with water and seal it shut.
  2. Make sure your pencil is sharpened. (The sharper the better!)
  3. Hold up the baggie with one hand and use the other hand to firmly push the pointy end of the pencil through the side of the bag. Continue pushing it until the point is also coming out the other side of the bag.
  4. Observe what happens!

 pencilbaggie

Question to Spark More Curiosity & Critical Thinking:

Is this what you expected to happen? Why or why not? What do you think will happen when the pencil is pulled out of the baggie? 

What’s Going On:

No water spills out the holes because ziploc bags are made of a polymer. Polymers have long chains of molecules that are flexible. When you poke a sharp pencil through the baggie,  the pencil slides in between the chain of molecules that make up the polymer. The molecule chains make a seal around the pencil that won’t let the water out. 

Want to go even further?

Even more activities to inspire creativity and critical thinking for various ages: 

    • Can you put more than one pencil through your baggie at a time?
    • Try this experiment with other materials.

pencil

  

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Fizz, Pop, Bang! 40 Playful Science and Math Activities for Kids


Comments

  1. So neat this worked!! We tried something similar a while back with a balloon, but we couldn’t get it!

  2. This looks fun…I can’t wait to try this with my daughter!

  3. That’s a fun science activity! I love your blog!

    ✿Sue✿
    Science for Kids Blog

  4. Cool experiment and you are so brave to do it in the living room. I think my 9 year old son would squeeze it to see what happens next.

  5. This is such a fun activity, I’ve been meaning to do it with my kids, maybe we’ll do it this summer when we’re between curriculum.

    • Thanks, Ticia! The best thing about this science demo is there is such little prep. It would be really fun to do outside on a warm day. When you pull the pencils out, you’d have a little fountain!

  6. Super fun experiment! We will have to try it for sure, so I am pinning now! Thanks for sharing at Mom’s Library!

  7. Such a fun experiment! I know my little boy would looove this, especially the mess made once the pencil gets pulled out. :) Thanks for sharing at Stress-Free Sunday!

  8. Very cool! I’m definitely saving this for the future.

  9. This is so cool! I just love all your science experiments! Thanks for sharing this on We Made That!

  10. Featured you on Mom’s Library! Can’t wait to see what you share this week!

  11. So cool. I wouldn’t have expected that result. Thanks for the fun idea!

  12. brianna says:

    this was so cool

  13. Lorin Matthews says:

    The polymer bag doesn’t really “seal” the hole around the pencil. Actually, the water doesn’t leak out because of air pressure. A little water leaks out when you poke the hole in the bag. If the top of the bag is sealed, more air can’t get inside it and as the water level falls a bit, it lowers the pressure of the water inside the bag as the air expands into the new space. At some point, the total pressure of the water and air inside the bag equals the air pressure outside the bag (and surface tension of the water).

    A similar experiment can be done with a plastic bottle with a lid. Use a pin to poke 6-8 holes all around the side of the bottle. As long as the lid is on, the holes won’t leak. Have an unsuspecting person unscrew the lid, however … watch out!

  14. KristieTurner says:

    I tried this experiment today with my summer camp friends from age group 6 year old to 12 year olds. They loved it! We put 10 pencils through the one bag and they were totally amazed that it did not leak.

Trackbacks

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