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Measure the Pressure

Active Time
30-45 minutes
Total Project Time
30-45 minutes
Key Concepts
Air pressure, weather, density
Set up balloon barometer outside

Introduction

Have you ever seen a weather forecast on TV? If so, you might have noticed the letters "H" and "L" moving around on the weather map. They are often referred to as zones of "high pressure" (H) and "low pressure" (L). The pressure they are talking about is the atmospheric pressure. Changes in air pressure can forecast short-term changes in the weather. But how do you know if the air pressure changes, or if it is high or low? Scientists have developed an instrument called a barometer that can measure atmospheric pressure. In this activity, you will find out how a barometer works by building one yourself!

Credits

Svenja Lohner, PhD, Science Buddies
This activity is not appropriate for use as a science fair project. Good science fair projects have a stronger focus on controlling variables, taking accurate measurements, and analyzing data. To find a science fair project that is just right for you, browse our library of over 1,150 Science Fair Project Ideas or use the Topic Selection Wizard to get a personalized project recommendation.

Materials

  • Heat-resistant glass jar
  • Rubber band that fits around the mouth of the glass jar
  • Balloon
  • Wooden skewer
  • Scissors
  • Tape
  • Paper
  • Pencil
  • Bowls (3)
  • Tap water (hot, cold)
  • Ice cubes
  • Paper towels
    Materials needed for the balloon barometer activity

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Active Time
30-45 minutes
Total Project Time
30-45 minutes
Key Concepts
Air pressure, weather, density