Test the Finger Wrinkle Hypothesis

Test the Finger Wrinkle Hypothesis

Grade Level

6 - 8


15 min - 1 hr


Life Science

Activity Type:

The video below explores what causes your fingers to wrinkle after a long soak in the tub and suggests that wrinkly fingers might improve our ability to handle wet objects. Test this hypothesis in the following experiment, which uses only a water bottle, a paperclip, and a plastic ruler.

“Getting a Grip on Finger Wrinkles,” produced by Flora Lichtman 

You'll Need:

Smooth, plastic ruler with a hole at one end (without raised lines or numbers)

Large paperclip, straightened out

Large water bottle with screw cap, with a looped lid for paperclip attachment

Notebook or student data sheet

Bowl of water for soaking fingers

Safety Considerations

Water may splash in this experiment. Always walk—never run—in the laboratory, and steer clear of electrical equipment and outlets while conducting this experiment.

large format finger wrinkle tool

You can download the materials for this activity in the “Educator Toolbox” below:

Related Segment

Getting a Handle on Why Fingers Wrinkle

Educator's Toolbox

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About Ariel Zych

Ariel Zych is Science Friday’s director of audience. She is a former teacher and scientist who spends her free time making food, watching arthropods, and being outside.