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CAN YOU TAKE MORE PRESSURE ?

Make a water barometer to measure the air pressure

Suitable For

Grade 5

Difficulty

3

Time Required

 <1 Week

Supervision

Advised

What’s it about?

When we swim deep underwater, we can feel the water pushing on our bodies. Similarly the ambient air pushes on our bodies, but because this happens constantly, we do not even notice. You might be amazed to know that there is normally about 1kg of pressure exerted on every square centimetre of your skin!

This pressure is called the atmosphere, which is a layer of air about 5km thick above the surface of the earth. The air pressure of the atmosphere can tell us a lot about the weather patterns and what type of weather we can expect in the near future. High pressure usually means the weather is going to improve, whilst low pressure is usually a sign that bad weather can be expected. Make your own weather predictions by building your own water barometer in the following science experiment:

Topics covered

Barometer, Altitude, Air pressure (Atmospheric pressure)

What will I need?

  • TALL, CLEAR PLASTIC BOTTLE
  • FLAT BOWL
  • TAP WATER
  • STICKY TAPE
  • CARDBOARD
  • QUICK-SET CLAY
  • DOWEL STICK
  • WIRE

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.

When the pressure in the atmosphere goes up, the water surface in the flat bowl is ‘pressed’ down and more water gets pushed up into the bottle. The level on the scale will go up slightly. When the atmospheric pressure drops, the air presses down on the water surface in the bowl with less force, and the opposite happens. When a high pressure system is on its way, often you can expect cooler temperatures and clear skies. If a low pressure system is coming, then you can expect warmer weather, storms and rain.

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