Academic journal article Science and Children

Try This TOPS Idea!

Academic journal article Science and Children

Try This TOPS Idea!

Article excerpt

air force

... adapted from PRESSURE #16 by TOPS Learning Systems

1. Push a sandwich bag deep into a wide-mouth jar or drinking glass.

2. Fold the plastic down over the rim, and wrap it as tightly as possible with a heavy rubber band to make an airtight seal.

3. Gently try to pull the bottom of the bag up out of the jar. Why is this hard to do?

A matter of air pressure...

[c] 2009 by TOPS Learning Systems. Photocopies permitted if this notice appears. All rights reserved.


To feel the strong force of atmospheric pressure holding a plastic bag inside an airtight container.


Copy the lab above for student use. Steps 1-3. We live under a heavy ocean of air that pushes equally in all directions. An inflated balloon, for example, is pressed inward by external air, and pushed outward by internal air. If these opposing pressures are equal, the balloon doesn't change size, collapse, or explode.


3. The harder I pull, the more unbalanced the air pressure becomes on either side of the plastic. …

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