Saturday Science: Air Pressure

With Easter being tomorrow, I thought it would be a good idea to do an egg-xperiment this week. I settled on the classic suck-an-egg-into-a-bottle experiment to demonstrate air pressure thinking it would be quick, easy, and fun. Instead LittleMan and I spent 3 hours attempting to figure out what we were doing wrong….and in the end we still couldn’t make it work!
Saturday Science Air Pressure, Suzy Homeschooler
The idea behind it is simple enough: you use either a raw uncooked egg OR a peeled hard-boiled egg, a glass jar which mouth is slightly smaller than an egg, and fire. Place the fire inside the bottle, place the egg on top, the air pressure within the bottle decreases, eventually the air pressure outside the bottle is so much greater than that inside the bottle that the egg gets sucked down inside the bottle to re-create balance between the two.

We tried both a raw uncooked egg as well as a peeled hard-boiled egg. Neither yielded the results we wanted however the peeled hard-boiled egg almost seemed like it might. There was a dent around the bottom of the hard-boiled egg where it had started to get sucked into the jar.

Our problem was the fire. As we noted during our experiments on fire for fire safety week, fire needs oxygen to survive. As soon as we put the egg on top of the bottle, we smothered the flame and the fire would go out before the experiment could work.
We tried a variety of methods to keep the fire going. We used paper (small torn pieces and large balled up pieces), drier lint, small dry sticks, uncooked pasta, old birthday candles, and various combinations of the previously mentioned however no matter what we tried the fire would still immediately go out as soon as the egg was placed on top of the bottle.

Our conclusion was that the bottle was probably too small for the fire to burn long enough after the egg was placed on top. We will however need a larger bottle to check that theory.

This ended up being a great lesson just the same because it got LittleMan thinking and using his complex problem solving skills.

Be sure to see what my Saturday Science co-hosts are up to this week!
What is soil? Experiments and activities for kids from The Usual Mayhem
Learning about nature with toddlers and preschoolers from P is for Preschooler
Simple Science: Mentos and Soda Geyser from The Joys of Boys
Preschool Books about Recycling from Stir the Wonder
Engineering Egg Drop Project from Lemon Lime Adventures

 

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4 Comments to Saturday Science: Air Pressure

  1. Sometimes they learn just as much or more from the failures as from the successes!

  2. […] Air Pressure from Suzy Homeschooler […]

  3. […] Air Pressure from Suzy Homeschooler […]

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