Make a Bottle Thermometer

Meteorologists, or weather scientists, use special tools for checking the current temperature and predicting what the temperature might be later in the day or week. At home, we can use a tool called a thermometer to measure the air temperature.


Activity Instructions

for Observers (Pre-K through 2nd Grade) and Explorers (3rd Grade through 5th Grade)

Watch this video by meteorologist Nick Merianos for instructions on how to create your very own thermometer. 

What you need:

  • A clear glass bottle

  • A straw

  • Red food coloring

  • Water

  • Measuring cup (something to pour water)

  • Rubbing alcohol

  • Modeling Clay or Playdough


  1. Fill the clear glass bottle with one cup of water

  2. Pour a cup of rubbing alcohol inside the glass bottle

  3. Place a few drops of red food coloring inside the bottle

  4. Mix the solution together inside the glass bottle

  5. Insert the straw but make sure the straw doesn’t touch the bottom of the glass bottle

  6. Use the modeling clay or play dough and place it around the top of the bottle to hold the straw in place.

  7. Now you have made your thermometer! Let’s test it out!

  8. You can use a hair dryer to warm up the liquid inside the bottle or an ice pack to cool the liquid inside the bottle. You can also bring your thermometer outside for a few days, and track the weather each day. To track it, draw a line on the outside of the bottle with a sharpie and mark the temperature on a daily basis. 

  9. Observe findings

  10. Results: A functioning thermometer that can measure whether the temperature has warmed or cooled. When it is warmer, the liquid inside the straw rises and the opposite happens when it cools.  

Turn It In

Take a picture of your thermometer and upload it to Padlet.

If you haven't printed the bingo board page, please print it now. Cross off this activity square, since you've completed it.


You'll bring your bingo board print-out to the PS29 garden on  Sunday, May 23 between 2-4pm to collect your prize. If you're not in Brooklyn, email us and we will send you your prize.