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Build a Decomposition Investigation Column

Decide whether you want a table top construction or a hanging construction before you begin.


  • Three 2-liter soda bottles
  • one bottle cap
  • tool box

Step 1Remove labels from all three 2-liter bottles.

Step 2 – Cut the top off bottle #1 2-3 cm below shoulder so that cylinder has straight sides.
Bottle 1

Step 3 – Cut top off of Bottle #2 2-3cm above shoulder. Cut bottom off 2-3 cm below hip so the resulting cylinder has two tapered ends.
Bottle 2

Step 4 – Cut bottom off Bottle #3 1-2 cm above hip, so cylinder has a straight end.
Bottle 3

Step 5 – Invert "C" and stack into base "D." Stack "B" and tape middle seam securely. Poke air holes. Add top "A" with a piece of tape for a hinge to the bottle column.

Step 6 – Poke air holes in column. Optional: Poke holes in the cap.


If you want to modify this construction go to BB Building Blocks.


National Science Foundation   Bottle Biology, an instructional materials development program, was funded by a grant from the National Science Foundation administered by the University of Wisconsin-Madison.   Wisconsin Fast Plants