Ward's World Activity Guides

Under Pressure

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Under Pressure + ward ' s science Recommended Grade Level(s): Appropriate for: All grade levels Time Requirements: Activity Time: 15 minutes Teaching Topics & Concepts: • To illustrate expansion of gases under reduced pressure. • Boyle's Law, pressure, force, compression, tension, stress, and strain. • Structure and properties of matter, evidence, models, explanation, constancy, change, and measurement. Materials: • Shaving cream • Marshmallow (for best results, use a fresh marshmallow) • Soda water • Doll's head • Balloon • Tape • Vacuum pump with bell jar Background: Have you ever opened a can of soda, unaware that it dropped on the ground a few moments before, or had one shaken by a prankster friend? We all know what happens next–the soda explodes in our faces. Have you been near someone opening a cham- pagne bottle on New Year's Eve and heard the celebratory "pop"? These fizzy examples demonstrate basic concepts of gas and pressure. In this activity, students can observe what happens when they drastically reduce the air pressure surrounding a doll's head filled with shaving cream. If holes are placed strategically in the doll's eyes and ears, students get a ghoulish demonstration of the expansion of gases. Safety • Wear safety glasses and gloves. • Ensure there are no cracks in the bell jar. • Do not eat the marshmallows! Any food-grade items that have been brought are for lab use only. Do not taste or ingest any materials in the laboratory, and do not remove any remaining food items after they have been used in the lab. !

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