Air: You Can't See It, But It's There
Purpose: These are simple experiments that the students can perform to demonstrate the concept that air occupies space.
Grade Level: 1st grade
Objective: Students will be able to state that air occupies space by performing experiments that show this principle.
Focus: Ask your students to list their basic needs (food, water, etc.) Talk about air. Can the students see air? How do they know
it is there? (feel it, smell it)
Background: Air is all around us. Air is essential for us to live. You may not be able to see air, but by doing the following activities,
you will see that air does exist.
Bag Blow Up
one paper lunch bag for each student
Procedure: Have the students open the lunch bag and look inside. Ask the students if there is anything in their bag. Next, have the children blow into the bag and hold the top
tight with their hands. What is in the bag now? Discuss that even though air is invisible, it still takes up space.
Bottle Blow Out
One small empty plastic soda bottle for each student
One balloon for each student
Procedure: Help each student push a deflated balloon into their bottle and stretch the open end of the balloon back over the bottle's mouth. Have the students guess what will
happen to the balloon if they were to blow up the balloon inside the bottle. Will the balloon break, pop, or do nothing? Write down the students responses. Have each child blow up their
Evaluation: After each child completes the experiment, discuss why the balloon did nothing. Because air takes up space, the bottle was full of air. When you try to blow up the balloon, the air trapped inside
the bottle prevents the balloon from inflating.
Reference: Simple Science Experiments, 1994, Evan-Moor Corporation
Acknowledgement: Sherilyn Tillman, Texas A&M Univ., Corpus Christi TES Course, 1996.