Seeing Air

This lesson developed by Reach Out!
Recommended Age: Preschool, Early Elementary


Can you see air?

What You Need
  1. Large mixing bowl
  2. Paper/Styrofoam Coffee Cup
  3. Water
  4. Ballon
  5. Water

What You Do

Experiment #1

  1. Fill the big mixing bowl 3/4 full with water.

  2. Hold the coffee cup so the open side is facing down. Push the cup straight down into the water until it rests on the bottom of the bowl.

  3. Tip the cup's edge a little bit. What do you see going on?

Experiment #2

  1. Look at your balloon. What is it like right now?

  2. Blow up the balloon. Hold the end so it doesn't deflate.

  3. What does the balloon look like now? What is the difference from the balloon at first and the balloon now?

  4. Hold one hand up in front of the end of the balloon. Slowly release your grip on the balloon's tip. What do you feel coming out on your other hand?

What Is Happening

We can't see air but it is all around us all the time. Living things can't make it without air! When you put the cup down into the bowl of water, it had air in it. When you tipped the cup's side, did you see air bubbles? The air that was caught inside the cup was trying to get out when you tipped the cup. As the air left, water seeped into the cup.

An empty balloon is just a piece of plastic or rubbery material. When you blow into a balloon, the air from your lungs goes into the balloon. A filled up balloon is filled up guessed it, air! When you let some air come out of the balloon, could you feel the air on the other hand?

Each time we inhale, we are taking in air from around us into our body's lungs. When we exhale or breathe out, we are releasing or getting rid of the air in our lungs. Our lungs are a lot like balloons- they are constantly filling up and letting go of a ir.