We enjoy sharing ideas from teachers that combine their creative methods with our science materials. Our materials are used well beyond the science experiments they were originally created for and used for a variety of unique ideas such as classroom behavior management, art, music, play and hands-on activities.

Lisa Schoneman, a teacher in Minnesota, shared her method for time-outs in the classroom using Pearl Swirl Solution, an empty soda bottle and water.

Make a Shake-Up Bottle

  • Take a clean plastic bottle. This can be a repurposed one or brand new.
  • Add a few drops of Pearl Swirl Solution.
  • Fill the bottle to the top with room temperature tap water.
  • Cap the bottle tightly and shake.
  • For colored bottles, add a few drops of food coloring or Color Fizzers.

What is Pearl Swirl?

Pearl Swirl™ Fluid is the secret ingredient that gives some shampoos that pearly-white look or creates wave currents in some shake-up water toys. In scientific terms, Pearl Swirl is a rheoscopic fluid – “currently showing.”

It’s a concentrate when added to water (or other liquids), demonstrates the movement or currents in the liquid. This pearly-white, water-based suspension is safe and non-toxic and excellent for teaching units on ocean currents, aerodynamics, turbulence, convection, and many other motion effects that are often difficult for students to visualize.

Shake-Up Bottle in Action

In this activity, Lisa skips the science lesson and sets the bottle on a table near her “Take a Break” chair (time out). When a student needs to step out of a class lesson, Lisa shakes her Shake-Up Bottle and sets it down on the table. The student is asked to sit in the chair until the liquid stops moving. If they aren’t ready to rejoin the class, the student can shake up the bottle again and sit for awhile longer.

The calming waves in the bottle help antsy or overly excited children refocus and settle.

Additional Materials

Plastic bottles are an inexpensive and easy material. We also recommend Baby Soda Bottles for Shake-Up bottles. Small hands can easily grip them and they do not crack, bend or break when dropped or squeezed.

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