Activity Introduction

Quick summary: In this activity students experiment with gravity and centripetal force, a bucket and some water. This activity is definitely best done outside!

These Snappy Science resources have been created to boost science education in primary schools across Australia. Each lesson is designed to support teachers with the scientific knowledge, ideas and resources to stimulate a sense of wonder and curiosity in their students. Many of the big issues that Australian society will face in the future are around technology, energy, resources and climate change. All of these require students to engage with science – but most of all to enjoy science!

Science at Home: These Snappy Science resources can also be used to engage families in fun science and learning for life. You can download a student friendly version of this activity here and you can also check out the Snappy Science Digital Library.

General capabilities: Critical and creative thinking.

Australian Curriculum content description: This activity is relevant to Science Inquiry Skills across all primary year levels of the Australian Curriculum.

Year 2 Science

  • A push or a pull affects how an object moves or changes shape (ACSSU033)

Year 4 Science

  • Forces can be exerted by one object on another through direct contact or from a distance (ACSSU076)

Year 5 Science

  • Solids, liquids and gases have different observable properties and behave in different ways (ACSSU077)

Syllabus OutcomesST1-7PW, ST2-7PW.

Time required: 5 – 10 minutes.

Resources required: Water, bucket with handle.

Safety advice: None.

Keywords: Water, bucket, centrifugal force.

Cool Australia’s curriculum team continually reviews and refines our resources to be in line with changes to the Australian Curriculum.


Teacher Worksheet

Brief summary:

In this activity students experiment with gravity, a bucket and some water. This activity is definitely best done outside!

Students can use the Predict, Observe, Explain table on the Student Worksheet to describe and reflect upon this experiment.

For more information about how to conduct this experiment and for more of the science behind what happens and why, watch the following clip:

Why does the Water stay in this Bucket?! (

You will need:

  • Water
  • Bucket with handle

What to do:

Step 1. Fill the bucket halfway or two-thirds full with water.

Step 2. Hold the bucket's handle and start swinging the bucket in a vertical circle from the ground up to the sky. Keep rotating your arm as the bucket swings down and keep the speed and motion consistent. As long as you keep swinging the bucket the water will stay where it is and not spill out and drench you.

Step 3. To stop, simply halt the bucket when it swings down.

How does ...

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Student Worksheet

In this activity you will experiment with centrifugal force.


Explain what you think will happen:


Explain what happened:


Explain why you think this happened:

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