This experiment illustrates that air really does take up space! You can’t inflate the balloon inside the bottle without the holes, because it’s already full of air. When you blow into the bottle with the holes, air is allowed to leak out making room for the balloon to inflate. With the intact bottle, you run into trouble because there’s nowhere for the air already inside the bottle to go when you attempt to inflate the balloon.

You’ll need to get two balloons, one tack, and two empty water bottles.

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Poke a balloon into a water bottle and stretch the balloon’s neck covering the mouth of the bottle from the inside. Repeat with the other bottle. Using the tack, poke several small holes in the bottom of one of the water bottles. Putting your mouth to the neck of each bottle, try to inflate the balloons.

A cool twist on this activity is to drill a larger hole in the bottle (say, large enough to be covered up by your thumb) and inflate the balloon inside the bottle with hole open, then plug up the hole with your thumb. The balloon will remain inflated even though its neck is not tied! Where is the higher pressure region now?


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