Air Pressure

Gloria Heard Willams Carter
5740 South Michigan
Chicago, Illinois 60649
312 947-7160


To get a better understanding of air pressure and how it effects our daily

Material Needed:

The following materials are needed to complete these activities at various

A. Balloons F. Balloon pump K. Plastic cups
B. Water G. Cottonballs L. Spheres
C. Plastic bottles H. Medicine dropper M. Food coloring (optional)
D. Boiled eggs I. Suction cups N. Glass bottles
E. Balance (scales) J. Paper O. Model of human breathing system

Recommended strategies:

1. Get the class' attention by having them do breathing exercises, inhaling and
exhaling two or three times.

2. Next, asked class how this process is related to air pressure? Use model of
breathing system for demonstration.

3. Give a review of the basic concept of air pressure, that is, how it can be
weighed, takes up space, and where and how it is found.

4. Take out two plastic bottles and ask class, if the bottles contain air?
Demonstrate to class that the bottles contain air by sucking or taking most
of the air out of one bottle. Ask student to compare the changes in the two

5. Next, ask students whether they think that the bottle can be brought back
to its original shape? Do this by blowing air back into the bottle.

6. Repeat the same activity by using a balloon.

7. Have student to divide into groups of four, go to assigned stations, and try
to understand the principles that we have discussed.

8. Student helpers will be assigned to the stations for assistance.

Station 1:

Students will do this activity to test whether air is in something.

Material needed: 8-ounce plastic tumblers; Tissue; Deep bowl filled with water

1. Look at the glass. What is in it?
2. Crumple the tissue and put it in the bottom of the glass.
3. Turn the glass over (be sure the tissue does not fall out) and push it
mouth first into a deep bowl of water.
4. Now remove the glass without tipping it.
5. What happens to the tissue?
6. What can you say about this?

Station 2:

Students will demonstrate and learn what air can do to an egg.

Material needed: Hard boiled egg, peeled; Glass milk bottle; Kitchen matches

1. Stick two matches in the pointed end of the egg.
2. Holding the bottle upside down, light the matches and put the egg into the
mouth of the bottle, pointed end in first. Hold the egg lightly against the
mouth of the bottle-don't push! Keep the bottle upside down.
3. What happened? What can you say about this?

Station 3:

Students will learn how air can be compressed.

Material needed: Clear plastic 16-ounce shampoo bottle filled with water;
Medicine dropper filled with a small amount of water

1. Observe the medicine dropper floating in the bottle.
2. Gently squeeze the bottle.
3. What happened? What can you say about this?

Station 4:

How can air pressure make things stronger?

Material needed: Paper straws; Raw potato

1. Hold a straw near one end and try to stick the other end in a potato.
What happened?
2. Place your finger over the top of the straw and stick the other end into the
potato (do it fast and hard). What happened?
3. What can you say about this?

Conclusion & Evaluation:

The conclusion of this lesson is that students will be able to understand air
pressure, how and when it works, and some of the concepts that can be achieved
by using air pressure.

Return to Physics Index