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Science Projects for Kids: Air Pressure

An air pressure project can be a blast.
An air pressure project can be a blast.
©2007 Publications International, Ltd.

There's air all around you -- but how much do you really know about it? Learn more with science projects for kids: air pressure.

When you think of air, you might think of emptiness, but air is actually exerting a force -- or pushing -- on everything, all the time.

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This invisible force is called air pressure, and you can demonstrate it with a simple science projects for kids.

Follow the links below to learn how to perform your own science projects for kids involving air pressure:

Book Blast Experiment

Your books will blast off from the force of your breath. Learn more here.

Indoor Tornado Experiment

Capture a tornado in a bottle with this science project.

Unspillable Water Experiment

Turn this glass upside down, and the water stays put! Find out why.

Caved-in Can Experiment

Call on an invisible force to crush a can with this project.

Keep reading for a science project that will show you the power of a little compressed air.

For more fun science projects, check out:

Blow up your books with a book blast experiment.
Blow up your books with a book blast experiment.
©2007 Publications International, Ltd.

Compressed air has great strength. The book blast experiment is a science project that demonstrates just how powerful it can be.

What You'll Need:

  • 3 books
  • Large airtight plastic bag

Step 1: Challenge a friend to move 3 books stacked on top of one another on a table by simply blowing at them. Of course, your friend won't be able to do it!

Step 2: Place a large plastic bag on the table, and put the 3 books on top of the bag. Leave the open end of the bag sticking out over the edge of the table.

Step 3: Hold the opening together, leaving a hole as small as possible. Blow into the bag. Take your time; stop to rest if you need to.

If you blow long and hard enough, the books will rise off the table. They will be supported by the compressed air in the plastic bag.

The next science project simulates a storm inside your own home. Keep reading science projects for kids: air pressure.

For more fun science projects, check out:

©2007 Publications International, Ltd.

Do tornadoes make you dizzy? Do their spinning, twirling winds make you wonder how they work? Well, shake up a mini-tornado of your own with this wild indoor tornado activity and study its spiraling vortex of currents without fear.

What You'll Need:

  • Clear mayonnaise jar
  • Water
  • Food coloring
  • Liquid dish soap
  • Vinegar

Step 1: Fill an ordinary glass mayonnaise jar about two-thirds of the way with water. Add a few drops of food coloring (any color) to the water.

Step 2: Add a teaspoon of liquid dish soap and a teaspoon of vinegar. Screw the lid on good and tight to prevent leaks and extreme messes.

Step 3: Give the jar a good, hard shake, then give it a twist to set the liquid inside spinning.

Step 4: What you'll see is a tiny bottled vortex that looks just like a miniature tornado. Watch the spinning mini-tornado closely and you may even gain insight into the real thing.

Keep reading science projects for kids: air pressure for a science experiment that uses air pressure to make a wall of water.

For more fun science projects, check out:

©2007 Publications International, Ltd.                              An amazing unspillable water experiment
©2007 Publications International, Ltd. An amazing unspillable water experiment
2007, Publications International, Ltd.

Air pressure can be stronger than gravity. This unspillable water experiment demonstrates its strength as it keeps the contents of a water glass in place, even upside down.

What You'll Need:

  • Juice glass
  • Water
  • 4x6-inch index card

Step 1: Fill a juice glass full of water. Let the water run over so that the lip of the glass is wet. Be sure that you fill the glass right up to the top.

Step 2: Place a 4x6-inch index card on top of the full glass of water. Be sure to press the card down securely with your hand so that it makes a good seal all around the wet lip of the glass.

Step 3: Working over a sink, hold the card in place with one hand as you turn over the glass. Carefully let go of the index card. The card will stay in place, and the water will stay in the glass.

What happened? The force of air pressure against the card is stronger than the force of gravity on the water. The air pressure holds the card in place.

In fact, the force of air pressure is so great that you can even use it to crush a can. Find out how with the next science project in science projects for kids: air pressure.

For more fun science projects, check out:

©2007 Publications International, Ltd.                              Crush a can with air pressure.
©2007 Publications International, Ltd. Crush a can with air pressure.
2007, Publications International, Ltd.

Air pressure is strong enough to bend a can. Find out how you can amaze your friends with the caved-in can experiment.

What You'll Need:

  • Large container
  • Water
  • Ice cubes
  • Empty soda can
  • Measuring cup
  • Stove
  • Tongs or pot holders

Step 1: Fill a large container with water and ice cubes. Set it aside to use later.

Step 2: Pour 1/2 cup of water into an empty soda can.

Step 3: With adult supervision, put the can on a burner on the stove.

Step 4: When the water in the can starts to boil, you will see steam coming from the hole in the top of the can. Turn off the stove, and use tongs or pot holders to remove the can from the heat.

Step 5: Quickly put the can in the container of ice water, turning it upside down to rest on its top. Now, watch the can collapse as it cools.

What Happened? When you heated the water in the can, it produced steam that forced the air out of the can.

When you put the can in the ice water, its temperature lowered, and the steam condensed back into water.

The pressure of the air outside the can was greater than the air pressure inside the can. The weight of the outside air crushed the can.

For more fun science projects, check out:

ABOUT THE ACTIVITY DESIGNERS

Indoor Tornado Experiment by Maria Birmingham, Karen E. Bledsoe, and Kelly Milner Halls

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