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Make a Tornado in a Bottle

Tornadoes are destructive storms are caused by a vortex. You can use the classic “tornado in a bottle” demonstration to explain how a vortex forms.

This demonstration goes well with a weather related activity or just for some STEM fun.

Tornado in a Bottle

When you get the water spinning just right, the forces will cause a vortex to form. A tornado is another type of vortex.


  • 1 2 liter soda bottle empty, with cap, clear works best
  • 3 tbsp glitter


  • Fill the bottle about 3/4 with water.
  • Add the glitter.
  • Put the cap on the bottle.
  • Turn the bottle upside down.
  • Move it in a circular motion for about 15 seconds. You should see a vortex form in the water. If not, try again, either a little faster or a little slower.


It might take a few tries to get the speed correct. You’ll know when you have it.


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