In this activity, students indirectly measure atmospheric pressure using a plastic drink bottle and a ping pong ball. They will then use this measure to calculate the force acting on the outside of a soft drink can.
By the end of this activity, students should be able to:
- give a simple explanation of how atmospheric pressure comes about
- determine atmospheric pressure either by direct measurement using a barometer or by use of the internet
- describe in simple terms how a drink bottle and ping pong ball can be used to indirectly calculate atmospheric pressure
- use the relationship force = pressure x area to calculate the crushing force acting on the outside of soft drink can
- relate the size of this force to an everyday experience.
Download the Word file (see link below) for:
- introduction/background notes
- what you need
- what to do
- student handout.
Watch the ping pong ball and water bottle atmospheric pressure experiment.