Principles of Air Pressure
4th - 6th grade
Difficulty of Project
$2 per student
Easy; materials can be easily obtained
Approximate Time Required to Complete the Project (Including analysis and write-up)
What is the project about?
The air pressure project is designed to teach students the concept of air pressure in a fun way.
What are the goals?
The goals of the air pressure project are to engage students in a fun activity while teaching them the basic principles of air pressure.
Materials and Equipment / Ingredients
What materials are required?
- String (20 feet per student or group)
- Balloon (1 per student or group)
- Straw (1 per student or group)
Where can the materials be found?
Most materials can be found at an art store or all-purpose store (such as Target)
- What is air pressure?
- What does compressed air mean (high or low pressure?)
- When a balloon is blown up, what is the change in air pressure inside the balloon?
Terms, Concepts and Questions to Start Background Research
For the parent/student, what terms and concepts are required to better understand the project?
The concept of air pressure is essential to this project. The terms force, air molecules, weight, space, and volume should be reviewed.
- First find an area that you can conduct this experiment in. You will want about 20 feet or more of space.
- Tie one end of the string to a desk or chair or door knob (you will need to tie the other end to another object of the same height and at a distance of about 20 feet).
- Cut the plastic straw to about 3 inches long.
- Insert the string into the plastic straw.
- Tie the other end of the string to another desk, chair, door knob, etc. The string should be pulled tight for about 20 feet, and the straw should move easily from one side of the string to the other.
- Blow up a balloon, and pinch the end closed (do not tie off the end).
- Tape the balloon to the straw (you may need two people for this part; one person to hold the balloon closed and the other person to tape the balloon to the straw).
- Ensure the area around the string is clear.
- Let go of the balloon.
- Record observations.
Bibliography / References to related books / Links to related sites on the web
Warning is hereby given that not all Project Ideas are appropriate for all individuals or in all circumstances. Implementation of any Science Project Idea should be undertaken only in appropriate settings and with appropriate parental or other supervision. Reading and following the safety precautions of all materials used in a project is the sole responsibility of each individual. For further information, consult your state’s handbook of Science Safety.