September At-Home STEAM Activity: Dancing Cranberries

This September, let’s uncover the science behind dancing cranberries!

After preparing the cranberries and clear cup of soda, your little learner will quickly observe how hundreds of tiny bubbles attach to the wrinkled surface of the dried cranberries. The bubbles from the carbonated drink are filled with carbon dioxide. They are lighter than the water, so they float to the surface. When enough bubbles cling to the sides of the cranberries, they bring the cranberries with them, as if they were wearing little life preservers!

The bubbles of carbon dioxide pop at the surface causing the cranberries to sink back to the bottom of the cup. Once new bubbles attach, the cranberries will dance to the surface again! Encourage your little learner to try variations of this activity found below under additional exploration. 


  • White carbonated soda (7 Up, Sprite, etc.)
  • 1 Pkg, dried cranberries
  • Clear cup


1. Fill the clear cup with the clear soda.
2. Drop 10-12 cranberries into the cup.
3. Observe the bubbles attach to the cranberries and carry them to the top.
4. Observe what happens to the cranberries when the bubbles begin to pop.

Additional Exploration:

Here are a few variations you can try. Remember to keep track of your results!

  • Compare different carbonated drinks to see which one makes the dried cranberries dance the longest. Some drinks to try might be seltzer water, ginger ale, Sprite or 7 Up.

  • Try adding different dried fruits like raisins, prunes or pineapple chunks. Do they dance like the cranberries do?

  • Place the cranberries directly into the soda bottle and close the lid tightly. What happens?

  • Dilute the soda in the cup with some water and observe how the cranberries behave differently.