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Keep water from falling out of an upside down drinking glass

Suitable For

Grade 5



Time Required

 <1 Hour



What’s it about?

One can do rather amazing ‘magic’ tricks to impress your friends with the ordinary science of air pressure. Do you think your friends will believe that you can hold a drinking glass with water upside down, without spilling any water? Have some fun with the following science experiment:

Topics covered

Pressure, Air pressure (Atmospheric pressure)

What will I need?


Procedure (Method)

Unfortunately, this section is only available in the e-book version of the project.

How does it work?

Unfortunately, this section is only available in the e-book version of the project.

This science experiment works because of the difference in air pressure inside the drinking glass and outside the glass pressing against the plastic card. Without letting a few drops of water out, the air pressure in the glass should be the same, but when you turn the cup upside down and let a few drops of water escape, it causes a difference in air pressure because now there’s less water in the glass, and the air in the top of the cup expands to fill the larger volume on top.

When the air expands, its pressure drops. This causes a pressure difference between the air outside and inside the cup. The greater pressure outside pushes against the plastic card, which keeps the water in the cup.

Like the sound of it?

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This particular science project can be found in any of the following Experiland e-books:

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