Lesson: Air


Aims: To heighten awareness of the properties of air.

i) To demonstrate that air takes up space
ii) To demonstrate that air exerts pressure
iii) To demonstrate that air has weight
iv) To show that air resists objects as they fall

Materials Needed
Textbook: Look Around - 6th Class - Folens

Experiment 1: bucket, clear narrow necked bottle, water
Experiment 2: funnel, wide-necked plastic container, plasticine, a long thin nail
Experiment 3: two table tennis balls, a drinking straw
Experiment 4: piece of glossy card, see-through tumbler or jam-jar, sink/basin
Experiment 5: two balloons, string, a metre stick, a book, a table, and a pin
Experiment 6: one large and one small piece of paper of the same quality
Digital camera, extension lead and printer


Divide class into 6 groups and set up 6 bases in the classroom for the 6 experiments.

Experiment 1 and 4 should be at or beside the sink.

Each group gets to do each experiment so 12 balloons will be needed.

If time does not permit each group may carry out the assigned experiment and then report back to the class.



Experiment 1- Air takes up space :1 bottle plunged right side up into water and then tilted so that the water trickles in. Finding: Air comes out in bubbles because the air in the bottle has to get out of the bottle so that the water can get in.

Experiment 2 - Air takes up space: 1 Plasticine wrapped around the stem of a funnel and put in neck of a container 2. Ensure seal is airtight 3. Pour water way up the funnel. Water cannot enter the bottle 4. Use nail to pierce plasticine. Air can now escape. Finding: Water will only go into the container if the air inside has somewhere to go.

Experiment 3- Air exerts pressure: 1. Two table tennis ball place 6cm. apart 2. Take a straw and blow at the space between the 2 balls. Findings: The balls move closer. By blowing, the air between, the balls were forced away. Since there was a reduction in the pressure, they moved toward one another.

Experiment 4 - Air exerts pressure 1. Tumbler to be filled 2. Put card over tumbler, the glossy side faces the water. Then invert. After a few moments let go of the card. Findings: Card should stay in place as the air under the card is exerting pressure equal to that of the water.

Experiment 5 - To show that air has weight 1. Two balloons to be blown up knotted and tied with string 2. Suspend a metre stick from a table with the string 3. Tie the 2 balloons on opposite ends of the metre stick so that they balance 4. Burst 1 balloon with a pin. Findings: Deflated balloon is lighter than inflated one, so metre stick tilts.

Experiment 6 - To show that air resists objects as they fall: 1. Stand on table or chair and drop 1 large and 1 small piece of paper at the same time. Finding: The smaller piece will hit the ground before the larger piece because it has smaller surface area. 2. Drop one horizontally and the other vertically Finding: The piece dropped vertically hits the ground first because surface area is very small and doesn't resist the fall.


Conclusion/Follow Up Activities

Get the children to take photos using the digital camera. Display in classroom for revision purposes. Other 6th class may be invited to a presentation of science experiments at a later stage and digital photos can be used to enhance understanding.


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