Try this simple investigation to explore the effects of air pressure
This resource is also available in Welsh and Irish
Get the Welsh language version.
Get the Irish language version.
This experiment focuses on air pressure, and can help develop learners’ understanding of forces, gravity and the properties of air. Watch the video of the ‘leaky bottle’ demonstration below, and then find out how your learners can explore air pressure themselves using rulers and newspaper.
- To develop a simple definition of pressure in terms of force.
- To develop an awareness that the air around us exerts pressure on the objects it comes into contact with.
- To appreciate, through practical experimentation, that although air pressure is not often felt, its actions can be seen and explained.
Watch the video
The video below shows how to carry out the ‘leaky 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.
PDF | Editable PowerPoint document
What do learners need to know first?
Learners should already know that force is a push or a pull and that area is the space occupied by a flat shape or an object’s surface.
Leaky bottle demonstration (or per group if desired):
- Plastic water bottle with screw-top lid
- Map/push pin
- Plastic tray to catch excess water
- Water to fill bottle
Main investigation (each group will need):
- 30 cm ruler
- Two identical sheets of newspaper
- Clear table top with a straight edge
- Investigate the affects of air pressure further in our anti-gravity bottle investigation or sticky cups investigation.
- Read up on solids, liquids and gases in this That’s Chemistry! textbook chapter.
- Introduce your learners to solids, liquids and gases with our primary science podcast.
Leaky bottle: teacher notesEditable handout | Word, Size 13.55 mb
Leaky bottle: teacher notesHandout | PDF, Size 0.32 mb
Leaky bottle: classroom slidesPresentation | PowerPoint, Size 10.05 mb
Leaky bottle: classroom slidesPresentation | PDF, Size 3.39 mb
Primary science investigations were developed in collaboration with the Primary Science Teaching Trust
Primary science investigations
- 3Currently reading
Air pressure, gases and the leaky bottle
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