This is a simple experiment that you can do with children to explore air pressure and the force of air. It does rely on two instruments but it is an enjoyable activity for children of all ages. This is actually a two part experiment where one day, you use a type of pump that is manipulated by hand and the second day you look at a different type of pump.
• Air Pressure
• Air Movement
• Air Flow
1. Bring out the Airzooka. Talk about it and have the children predict what it does.
2. Show the children what it does by having it blow against their hair or hands.
3. Ask them to predict what would happen if you use it on a small object or paper.
4. Experiment with the paper and different objects to see what it moves.
5. Sort the items into movable and not movable piles.
6. Bring out the stomp rocket. Set up the use much like the Airzooka. Remind the children about the Airzooka and the experiment that you did with it.
7. Discuss the difference between the Airzooka pump and the Stomp Rocket Pump.
8. Ask them what will happen to the rocket if a person jumps on the pump.
9. Have a child stomp on the rocket.
10. Discuss what happens.
11. Using the stomp rocket pump, try to move the items that were too heavy for the Airzooka. Is there any difference in air pressure?
Questions to ask:
What do you think this is and how do we use the Airzooka?
What do you think will happen when I use the Airzooka?
Do you think the Airzooka can move the paper? The small objects?
What do you think the Stomp Rocket is and how would we use it?
What are the differences between the Airzooka and the Stomp Rocket?
Which one do you think will create more air pressure (wind)?
What do you think will happen to the rocket?
Do you think the Stomp Rocket pump could move the objects the Airzooka couldn’t?
Things to do:
Document predictions and outcomes of the experiment. Have the children explain what is happening and why they think it is happening.
Let the children have a hands on experience with the materials and see if they can find items that can be moved with both the Airzooka and the Stomp Rocket. Have them explore different ways to use both and decide on which way produces the best outcome.
Try to find ways to make your own air pump or Airzooka. Use them to push air onto different objects, document what happens.
Another great extension is to set up an aquarium with a pump. Much like the stomp rocket, the air is forced through a tube and out into the water. The children can document its course as the bubbles rise to the surface and burst.