Sewer Lice

carbonate from 123rf

This activity is courtesy of Flinn Scientific Canada.




Use this popular, simple exercise to introduce some levity into the classroom and as an opportunity to demonstrate the importance of careful observations.


  • Observation
  • What is life?


  • Raisins, 10 to 20
  • Beaker or similar transparent container, 1000-mL
  • Carbonated beverage that could pass for “sewer-water” (i.e., 50/50,® Squirt,® or Mountain Dew®), 500 mL

Safety Precautions

There are no real hazards involved with this exercise as long as scrupulously clean beakers or non-lab containers are used. Laboratory glassware that may have previously contained any chemicals or solutions should be avoided. Normally food should not be eaten in the laboratory—this may be one exception for dramatic effect. Remind students to never eat in the lab—this is a “special” demonstration.

Click here for a printer-ready version of the complete activity including procedure and discussion tips.



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