Activity Introduction

Quick summary: In this activity students make their own lava lamp.

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

  • Different materials can be combined, including by mixing, for a particular purpose (ACSSU031)

Year 5 Science

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

Syllabus OutcomesST1-12MW, ST2-7PW

Time required: 15 – 20 minutes to set up and demonstrate with lava lamp.

Resources required: Clean 1 litre clear soft drink bottle, 3/4 cup of water, vegetable oil, antacid tablets (such as Quick-Eze or Mylanta), food colouring.

Safety advice: None.

Keywords: Lava lamp, water, oil.

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 make their own lava lamp.

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:

DIY Lava Lamp (

Warning: The the following clip advises the use of aspirin to create a lava lamp. We recommend that students ask an adult for help in these steps. 

You will need:

  • A clean 1 litre clear soft drink bottle
  • 3/4 cup of water
  • Vegetable oil
  • Aspirin tablets or antacid tablets (such as Quick-Eze or Mylanta)
  • Food colouring

What to do:

Step 1. Pour the water into the bottle.

Step 2. Use a measuring cup to slowly pour the vegetable oil into the bottle until it's almost full. You may have to wait a few minutes for the oil and water to separate.

Step 3. Add 10 drops of food coloring to the bottle; the d

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Student Worksheet

In this activity you will be making a lava lamp with a bottle, some water, some oil and some food colouring.


Explain what you think will happen:


Explain what happened:


Explain why you think this happened:

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