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Monitoring Operations

February 24, 1997

Air: You Can't See It, But It's There!


These are simple experiments that the students can perform to demonstrate the concept that air occupies space.

Grade Level:

1st grade

Essential Elements:

Environmental Essential Elements Across the Curriculum - 75.25 (2) Acquire data through the senses. The student shall be given opportunities to (B) observe properties and patterns of objects, organisms, and events in the environment, and (E) explore the environment.

(3) Classify, order, and sequence data. The student shall be given opportunities to (B) classify matter, forces, energy, organisms, actions, and events from the environment according to similarities and differences. (4) Communicate data and information in appropriate oral and written form. The student shall be given opportunities to (D) describe changes that occur to objects and organisms in the environment.


Students will be able to state that air occupies space by performing experiments that show this principle.


Ask your students to list their basic needs (this relates to what they have learned in Social Studies). Talk about air. Can the students see air? How do they know it is there? (feel it, smell it)


Air is all around us. Air is essential for us to live. You may not be able to see air, but by doing the following activites, you will see that air does exist.

Bag Blow Up



Have the students open the lunch bag and look inside. Ask the students if there is anything in their bag. Next, have the children blow into the bag and hold the top tight with their hands. What is in the bag now? Discuss that even though air is invisible, it still takes up space.

Bottle Blow Out



  1. Help each student push a deflated balloon into their bottle and stretch the open end of the balloon back over the bottle's mouth.
  2. Have the students guess what will happen to the balloon if they were to blow the balloon up inside the bottle. Will the balloon break the bottle, pop, or do nothing? Write down the students responses.
  3. Have each child blow up their balloon!


After each child completes the experiment, discuss why the balloon did nothing. Because air takes up space, the bottle was full of air. When you try to blow up the balloon, the air trapped inside the bottle prevents the balloon from inflating.


Simple Science Experiments, 1994, Evan-Moor Corporation


Sherilyn Tillman, Texas A & M University Corpus Christi TES Course, 1996

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