Add to collection
  • + Create new collection
  • 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.

    Useful links

    Watch as atmospheric pressure crushes a soda can and a 55 gallon steel drum.

    Watch the ping pong ball and water bottle atmospheric pressure experiment.

      Published 29 April 2014 Referencing Hub articles
        Go to full glossary
        Download all