Properties of Matter

Salty Straws

Enrichment Activity for 5-11 11-14

What you need

  • Two small cups tea or coffee
  • Two straws
  • Salt
  • A friend


  1. Pour equal amounts  tea or coffee into two small cups, with the help of a friend if you need it
  2. Add enough salt to one cup so that no more salt can dissolve
  3. Place a straw into each cup, put a finger over the end of each straw and lift the straws out
  4. The liquid should be lower in the straw from the salty tea or coffee

Results and Explanation

The salt increases the density of the liquid, which means less of it is picked up when the straws are lifted.

These experiments have not been specifically safety tested for home use but we believe them to be safe if the instructions are followed. Adult supervision or direction is recommended as appropriate. All experiments are carried out at your own risk.

appears in the relation m=ρV
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