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Grade and Topic: Grade 6 Science- Air and Aerodynamics

Main Concept: Air takes up space and exerts pressure Exploring the effects of pressure.

Discrepant Event
By: Dana Colpitts & Anik Fontaine

Student Outcome:

Students will explore the characteristics of air and the interaction between moving air and
solids. Students will understand what air pressure is, and that air takes up space.
Students will discover that air expands and contracts dependant on the temperature.

Specific Learner Expectation/Outcome:

1. Provide evidence that air takes up space and exerts pressure, and identify examples of
these properties in everyday applications.

Materials:

- 1 Glass Bottle
- Electric Kettle or boiling hot water
- 1 Flexible Straw
- Food Coloring
- Mittens or Gloves (for heat)
- Clay
- 1 Large Bowl
**Optional: -Glow in the dark liquid & Black Light
Make sure it is a firm type of clay

Teacher Suggestions:

Make sure that when you apply the clay, it MUST be tightly wrapped around the top
of the bottle and straw to prevent the air pressure from popping the seal of the
clay off during the experiment.
If you are using boiling water, this experiment should be a demonstration
performed by the teacher rather than the students.
If you want the students to try this experiment, use a sink filled with hot water
instead of using boiling water to heat up the bottle.
Make sure to bring an extra bottle, straws and clay in case the experiment did not
work out very well the first attempt. The clay may not be reusable for a second
experiment.
This experiment should be conducted at the beginning of the class as an
anticipatory set to hook your students interest during the unit of Air and
Aerodynamics; when you will be discussing air pressure.

Explanation:
Science Behind this Discrepant Event: How it works........What's going on?
An empty bottle is never really, truly 'empty'. This is not optimism, it's a scientific fact!
When a bottle isn't full of liquid, it's full of air. Emptying a bottle full of hot water leaves
you with a bottle full of hot air. Air expands when it gets hot and shrinks when it cools
down. This phenomenon called thermal expansion is what causes warm air to rise and cool
air to descend.
When air is trapped inside a rigid and airtight vessel, its volume cannot increase. Heat an
airtight vessel and instead of expanding, the air pressure inside goes up. Seal a hot bottle
with clay and no more air can enter so the pressure inside drops as the air cools down,
producing what physicists call a partial vacuum. This suction system/vacuum inside the
water bottle is the reason the colored water starts to flow through the straw, creating a
fountain effect without any electricity or mechanical pump/motor.
Note: * The air pressure inside the bottle will remain lower than the air pressure outside
until you remove the clay, allowing air to rush in until the pressures are equal. *
When you invert the glass bottle upside down with a straw inside, it provides a more
entertaining way for the pressure inside and outside the bottle to equalise. As the warm
air inside cools down, the falling pressure is immediately equalised by the water rising into
the straw. The higher pressure outside the bottle forces the water up, which reduces the
volume of air inside, which equalises the pressure. When the air temperature inside the
bottle has cooled down sufficiently, the pressure inside stops falling and the fountain of
water flowing upward into the bottle will stop working.

How this science concept of air pressure relates to real life:


The same phenomenon that caused the water to rise into the bottle and create a fountain
effect, is what causes some refrigerator doors to become incredibly difficult to open
again, just after you've removed something. While the door is open, some of the cold air
inside pours out onto the floor and warm rushes into the fridge to replace it. As soon as
you close the door, the warm air trapped inside cools down causing the pressure to fall.
When you try opening the door soon after, the external air pressure pushing against the
door makes it tough to open. Leave it for a few minutes and the pressure inside will return
to normal and the door will return to its more cooperative state. Some people call this
fridge door effect suction; however is the science world it is known as a vacuum effect.
When drinking out of a thermos or coffee mug. Coffee cup designers are not without
scientific knowledge. They understand this air pressure problem as well as anyone else out
there, and they provide a tiny vent hole, usually 180 degree around from the drink hole to
allow the air pressure to equalize and allow the caffeine supply or liquid to flow freely.

Experimental Procedure:
1. To begin, gather all materials onto a flat surface where you will
be conducting the experiment.

2. If you are using an electric kettle, start boiling the water


before beginning the experiment. If you are using the sink, have it
filled with hot water before starting the experiment with the
students
3. Explain to the students that todays experiment will be
demonstrating the effects of air pressure in a confined space and
what it will do to displace water. Air expands when it gets hot and
shrinks when it cools down. This phenomenon called thermal
expansion is what causes warm air to rise and cool air to descend.
4. Roll out the clay into a long snake like strand. Place the straw
vertically across the clay. Make sure the flexible end of the
straw is sticking out past the clay at approx. 2 inches (enough to
be placed in the water). The other end of the straw should be the
longer (long enough to be placed inside the bottle). Roll and wrap
the clay around the straw so that it forms a cap like structurethis will create a seal around the top of the bottle.
5. Fill the bowl with room temperature water. Place the bowl on
the surface where you will be conducting the experiment. Add
the food coloring or the glow in the dark liquid to the water in the
bowl.
*Add any color you would like. If you are using the glow in the dark
liquid, you will need to place the black light in front of the bowl and
turn it on so that when the liquid is shooting up into the bottle, it
will glow!
6. Once the water has boiled, put gloves or mittens on before
handling the bottle. You will carefully pour the boiling water into
the glass bottle. Once it is filled, wait 10-20 seconds (enough
time for the bottle to heat up).

7. Explain to the students that when heat is added to a substance,


the molecules and atoms vibrate faster. As atoms vibrate faster,
the space between atoms increases. The boiling water heats up
the air inside the bottle, increasing the pressure. (When air is
heated, it expands and either increases in volume, increases in
pressure or both).
8. This next step must be done quickly! Empty the boiling water
from the bottle. Place the long end of the straw into the bottle
and seal the top of the bottle with the clay.
*Make sure the clay is sealed tightly and firmly- if not, clay will pop
off from the pressure created inside the bottle.
9. Invert the bottle so that the exposed straw can be submerged
into the water and observe! -see the magic of science!!
* The air trapped inside the airtight bottle, its volume cannot
increase. The air pressure inside goes up. Sealing the hot bottle
with clay means no more air can enter so the pressure inside drops
as the air cools down; producing what is called a partial vacuum. This
suction system/vacuum inside the bottle is the reason the colored
water starts to flow through the straw, creating a fountain effect
without any electricity or mechanical pump/motor.

Related Activities to Teach Air Pressure:


-Water Glass Trick
-Ping-Pong Funnel
-The Million Dollar Bet
-Kissing Balloons
-Coin Poppers

References:

https://www.asme.org/career-education/articles/k-12-grade/5-ways-to-demonstrate-airpressure-to-children

http://www.ekunji.com/learn/easy-science-projects-for-kids/science-projects-for-kidsfountain-in-water-bottle

Cool bottle pressure experiment example:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eLcyhT4Oly8