Activity Introduction

Quick summary: In this experiment students will make their own plastic by adding vinegar to warm milk.

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 1 Science

  • Everyday materials can be physically changed in a variety of ways (ACSSU018)

Year 2 Science

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

Year 3 Science

  • A change of state between solid and liquid can be caused by adding or removing heat (ACSSU046)

Year 5 Science

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

Year 6 Science

  • Changes to materials can be reversible, such as melting, freezing, evaporating; or irreversible, such as burning and rusting (ACSSU095)

Syllabus outcomesST1-12MW, ST2-12MW, ST2-7PW, ST3-12MW.

Time required: 10 – 15 minutes.

Resources required: Milk, vinegar, small saucepan, stove.

Safety advice:This activity requires heating milk on a stove – depending on student age and ability this activity may be either a student-led experiment or a teacher-led demonstration.

Keywords: Plastic, milk, vinegar.

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 experiment students will make their own plastic by adding vinegar to warm milk.

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:

How To Make Plastic From Milk And Vinegar (

You will need:

  • Milk
  • Vinegar
  • Small saucepan
  • Stove

What to do:

Step 1. Heat a small amount of milk in a saucepan. You don’t want the milk to be boiling or foaming but you do want it to be warm.

Step 2. When the milk is warm, add a small amount of vinegar. You will find a rubbery substance in the pan. Wash it carefully under the tap, being careful of the hot pan.

Step 3. You can shape the rubbery stuff, which is a form of plastic. This will harden in a few days.

How does it work?

Plastic is made of long molecules that give it a ben

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Student Worksheet

In this activity you will add vinegar to warm milk - what do you think will happen?


Explain what you think will happen:


Explain what happened:


Explain why you think this happened:

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