How can we make air pressure visible? By changing in in the presence of a puffy object like a marshmallow. In this activity students use simple vacuum and pressure pumps to see the dramatic effect they have on marshmallows (bits of foam rubber could be substituted).
Use this to learn and reinforce answers to questions such as:
❑ How much space does air take?
❑ What happens to air when it's squeezed?
❑ What causes air to expand?
Once students try this activity, they can capture their observations using the included Lab Notes or probing questions included in the instructions.
♦ Matter takes up space
♦ Air's pressure pushes it into every conceivable space
♦ Since air is matter, it must take up space.
♦ Air is compressible
♦ Air (gas) cannot pull, it can only push
Answer Keys and Teacher Notes address most questions and issues that might arise in this study—you shouldn’t have to do any outside research unless you want to.
Materials Needed Vacuum pump (used for wine), pressure pump (used for carbonated drinks), plastic test tubes, mini marshmallows.
Prep Time Collect and purchase materials as needed
Teaching Time About 40 minutes.
Student Sheets Scaffolded writing prompts
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