Take your learners’ understanding of forces further with this simple investigation exploring air pressure and gravity
This experiment focuses on how air pressure can overcome gravity. First watch the ‘anti-gravity bottle’ demonstration video, then find out how your learners can investigate air pressure using cups, water and cardboard.
- To understand that we notice the force of air when it moves objects, but particles of air are moving all the time and create forces that we usually don’t notice.
- To appreciate that air creates a force and this force acts in all directions, not just ‘downward’ towards Earth.
- To learn that when we consider force of air over a specific area, we call this air pressure.
- To understand that air pressure of a sufficient magnitude acting upwards on an object can overcome the effects of gravity.
- Making predictions, observations and comparisons.
Watch the video
The video below shows how to carry out the ‘anti-gravity bottle’ demonstration.
Download the supporting materials
Set up and run the investigation with your class using the teacher notes and classroom slides, featuring a full equipment list, method, key words and definitions, questions for learners, FAQs and more.
What do learners need to know first?
Learners should be able to articulate that a force is a push or pull which acts on objects. They should also be familiar with gravity being a type of force that pulls objects towards the Earth.
Learners should be aware of what ‘area’ means (a measure of surface covered), particularly in relation to rectangles and squares.
- A drinking glass or tumbler – this can be made of a hard plastic but not one which will ‘crush’ in the hand
- A flat piece of card that will fit over, and extend beyond, the opening of the glass
- Water to fill the glass
- A deep sided tray or basin to catch spillages
Primary science investigations were developed in collaboration with the Primary Science Teaching Trust
Primary science investigations
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Air pressure and the antigravity bottle