a boy and a teacher doing an experiment

Forth Valley College Activities

Family Experiments part of Stirling Science Festival

Can you escape the Science Escape Room? – Challenge (Family)

Try your luck at our Science Escape Room. Ten challenges, set by Professor Durslay, await your logical and illogical solutions. Master the riddles, predict and try out experiments, see through illusions… Only the best will get out and harvest the ultimate price!

Access the Science Escape Room through the link below


If you find some of the challenges too hard to handle, you can download the Spoiler Sheet here to get you going again.



 Do you have an annoying brother or sister who think they know it all? This science pack hold the solution- experiments and tricks, that give YOU time to shine. You can expect to defy gravity, to get out of a tie-up and to become the bubble master of the family.

young scientists and the environment

‘Impress my Family’ Science Experiment One: Air pressure in a bottle or how to get my brother soaked! – Video & instructions (Family)

 What you need:   

  • Plastic bottle (2l) including lid
  • Tray or sink
  • Pin

How to do it:

  1. Fill the bottle with water. Close the lid tightly.
  2. Use pin to make several holes in the plastic bottle.
  3. Place bottle in tray or sink (or outside).
  4. Ask: Why does the water not run out?
  5. Now open the lid (or let your brother do it). Watch what happens


What’s going on?

When the lid is tightly on the bottle it is filled with water and air (a gas that we cannot see). The water cannot flow out as this would create a partial vacuum in the bottle. The only way water can move, is when either air or water is added to replace the water that has left the bottle. This only happens, when the lid is opened and air can flow in freely. The water will now spill out of the pin holes. The video below explains a bit more.

Document with instructions Soaking bottle


‘Impress my Family’ Science Experiment Two: Become the ‘Bubble in a bubble’ family champion – Video & instructions (Family)

 What you need:  bubles

  • Warm water
  • Bowl
  • Plastic or metal straws (don’t use paper ones)
  • Sugar
  • Fairy liquid
  • Table spoon

How to do it.

  1. Fill 1 cup (230 ml) of warm water in a beaker.
  2. Add 1 table spoon of granulated sugar and stir.
  3. Add 2 table spoons of detergent. Mix.
  4. Rub some mix on table surface.
  5. Now dip straw into mix and blow bubble on surface.
  6. Dip into mixture again and blow bubble inside a bubble.


What’s going on?

Water forms a thin ‘skin’ on its surface. This allows the formation of water droplets and lets some insects walk across water. This skin is under tension/under stress and will not allow for large (water) bubbles to form. So, when you pour water into a basin, the bubbles burst very quickly. Now add some fairy liquid or other detergent. The detergent stretches the ‘skin’ of the water to allow for longer lasting bubbles. The phenomenon is called water surface tension (we called it ‘water skin’ here).


How many bubbles in a bubble can you get? My current record is 4! Watch this video for more instructions and explanations.

Document with instructions  – Bubble champion

‘Impress my Family’ Science Experiment Three: Defy gravity with the inverted water cup – Video & instructions (Family)

 What you need: water drop

  • Plastic cup
  • Rubber band
  • Fine mesh material like tulle or old tights
  • Laminated card or piece of plastic folder
  • Water and a sink or tray

How to do it:

  1. Strap the tulle over the cup (no folds) and fix with rubber band.
  2. Press the plastic card over opening and turn around. Now slowly, slowly move the card away, staying completely horizontally.
  3. Challenge your family to also invert a water filled cup without spilling it. Use any or all of the equipment above.


What’s going on?

Water forms a thin ‘skin’ on its surface. This allows the formation of water droplets and lets some insects walk across water. This is called surface tension and keeps the water in the cup as long as the water ‘skin’ holds on to the fibres of the tulle. What happens if you now touch the tulle? Would this trick be easier with smaller or bigger holes? Watch the video for more information.

Document with instructions Inverted cup

‘Impress my Family’ Science Experiment Four: Getting out of a tie-up – Puzzle (Family)

 What you need:kids playing a game with a rope

  • 2 people
  • 2 rope pieces with the both ends tied to a loop

How to do it?

  1. Tie the two volunteers (ideally your siblings or parents) together like so:

Get person A to put their hands through the looped ends of a piece of rope. Then get a second person B to do the same with a second piece of rope, which is looped around the first rope.

2. Challenge them to free themselves without taking their hands out of the ends of the rope. Don’t allow them to break/ ut the rope using friction or use any other tools like scissors.

3. Watch them wriggle, twist and turn!

How to get free?

The solution is to position the rope in red so that it dangles under one of the hands of Person B. Person A should take hold of the middle of their red rope and pull it through the loop below person B’s wrist, up over their hand and under the loop going over their wrist.

how to untie hands

For more instructions please see String Handcuffs Puzzle

Document with instructions Tied up

Web: Forth Valley College 

Social media: Forth Valley College Facebook Page

Videos: Copyright, 1851 Trust and Siemens

See the full programme of the Stirling Science Festival.

Event Info

Cost - £


Jail Wynd, Stirling, FK8 1DE

+44 (0)1786 27 4000


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