1. Air Takes Up Space
Use 2 balloons of equal size and shape and color. Fill one with water and the other with air. Ask the children which one will be heavier and which one lighter? Have them test for results. Which is heavier? Air or Water? With older children, you may weigh and record the weights.
2. Air Can Be Strong and Move Things
Place a ping-pong ball in a basin of water. Ask the children if there is a way to make the ball move without touching it. Have one child at a time try blowing the ball to see if the child can make the ball move.
Blow up balloons and float them on water. How can you make them move without touching them?
Try blowing air on the balloons through a plastic straw or some plastic tubing. Use a paper plate and wave it like a fan at the balloon.
3. Many Things Need Air to Work
Balloons, Balls, Bubbles - all are filled with air.
Add 1/4 cup of Dawn dishwashing detergent to a basin of water. Use bubble blowing equipment of varying sizes to make bubbles. (Plastic strawberry boxes can be used to make small bubbles, while covering hangers with yarn can make large bubbles.)
4. Air Can Make Sounds
Blow up balloons and then slowly let out the air by narrowing the opening of the balloons. Listen to the sounds that can be heard.
Bring in instruments like a kazoo, a harmonica and a flute to demonstrate how these instruments use air in order to make music.
5. Air Can Be Used to Make Different Shapes
Blow air into latex gloves. Use a rubber band to make them air tight. Suggestion: use medical plastic gloves. Allow children to handle and squeeze the inflated glove moving the air within it. Question: What inside the glove is moving?
Select balloons of various sizes, shapes and colors. Blow them up. Compare the differences in the shapes and sizes of the balloons. How does air help give a balloon its shape?
Using an eye dropper, place drops of watercolors on sheets of wax paper. Provide each child with a straw. Let them blow through the straw and watch how the air can move the water colors making different shapes.
Reprinted with the permission of PBS. © PBS 2003 - 2008, all rights reserved.
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