While in a craft store recently, I came across submersible lights. Immediately my wheels began to turn and I began to think of the possibilities. I bought a pack of submersible lights and some water beads, and made these illuminated discovery bottles for our science center.
The materials I used were submersible lights, water beads, and large plastic test tubes. My set of Jumbo Test Tubes are from Lakeshore, but you could also use plastic drink bottles that have a wide mouth.
Submersible lights (from a craft store):
Water beads (also from a craft store):
Lights & Glitter
This discovery bottle has water and red glitter with the submersible lights. The lights sink to the bottom, but when shaken, the lights move around in the water with the glitter. The light illuminates the water and reflects off the glitter, making it sparkle as it swirls around.
Disappearing Water Beads
In this discovery bottle, I put in some clear water beads. I first showed the children how small the beads are when they are dry. Then I placed them in a test tube with water, and left them alone to absorb the water and grow bigger.
After the beads were full size, I added some water to one of the tubes until the water covered the beads. This makes the beads seem to disappear!
The water beads can only be seen when you move the tube around or lay it on its side.
Lights & Water Beads
Then I placed the submersible lights in the two bottles. The water beads hold the lights in place, so this time they don’t sink to the bottom. Children can either observe the bottle when it is completely still or shake and move the bottle to watch the lights move around among the water beads. In the picture below, the blue test tube is the one that has only water beads with no extra water added. The yellow test tube is the one that had extra water added to it. This tube makes it appear that the lights are suspended in the water, when they are actually sitting on top of invisible water beads.
Here’s a challenge for you: In the comments below, tell your own ideas for making Illuminated Discovery Bottles. After you make them, come back and tell us how they turned out!