Air volume science experiment performed by Sunshine and Clover 123.

Easy Fun Science Experiment with Air

Does Air Have Volume?

How can we find out if air has volume? We can’t see air, air is made of a variety of gases. The air we breathe in is composed of approximately 78% Nitrogen and 21% Oxygen, as well as a few other gases, with Oxygen being the most important for ourselves. With the following experiment we can see that air does in fact takes up space (volume.)


Supplies for air and volume science experiment. Need 1 large bowl, a glass, and paper towel or paper.
Supplies for your science experiment.

This experiment can be performed with just a few supplies that you should already have on hand.

  1. Clear glass
  2. Paper towel or newspaper (Some type of paper product)
  3. Large container
  4. Water

Experiment Steps

1. Fill large container up with enough water to cover the glass you are using.

2. Push a piece of paper towel or some type of paper products into the bottom of the glass. Make sure you have enough so that it will not fall out of the glass when flipped upside down, and don’t put so much in that it is sticking out near the top of the glass.

Push paper down into glass for this science experiment for homeschoolers.
Push your paper down to the bottom.
Paper is pushed all the way down without the paper reaching the rim of the glass and paper stays in when tipped over.
Make sure your paper stays put at the bottom of the glass.

Make your hypothesis now. What do you think will happen to the paper when it is put in the container of water?

3. Flip your glass with the paper in the bottom upside down and slowly put into your large container of water. Make sure you go straight down and keep a hold of it.

Putting glass in properly with no tilting for the air volume science experiment.
Ensure your glass is straight up and down when submerging.

4. After your glass has been fully submerged under the water for a few seconds slowly lift it up without tilting. What happened to your paper? Is it dry? It should be!

Paper towel is dry after removing from container of water.

If your paper got wet then try again and make sure you don’t tilt the glass and that you have the paper in the glass properly as stated in step 2.

What Happened?

Ok, so how did the paper stay dry? Was there a magical water nymph in there keeping the water at bay? No, it was the invisible magic of air. When you place the glass in upside down you trapped air inside the glass. The molecules in air (which is a gas) are spaced further apart than the molecules in water (which is a liquid). This makes air less dense than water. Air being lighter than water will result in air being pushed up in the glass creating a bit of a shield between the water and the paper. This proves that air does take up space (volume).

Now what if you put the glass in but have it tilted? What if you put it in straight down and then turn it over while it is down under the water? Make a hypothesis and observe what happens. This also shows a good visual of the air bubble coming up out of the water, also helping little children to see the invisible gas in bubble form.

Wrap Up

Still want to do a little more? You can take a deflated balloon and ask your child what is in the balloon. Then blow it up and ask what it is inside. They can see this visual expansion of the balloon that is now filled with air. Don’t tie it and let it go flying crazy around the room so they can see the power of air forcing itself out of the balloon…plus it’s just fun.

Want More?

It is summer for us right now and we are still homeschooling but not like we do during the “normal” school year. Our main focus of the summer (besides playing outside) is doing science experiments. The girls are legit excited when I ask if anyone wants to do a science experiment. I recently found a book at a homeschool curriculum sale called 730 Easy Science Experiments with everyday materials for only 2 dollars! I love buying things second hand. This book has been amazing with just open and go easy science experiments and I can mark it up and not worry about having to return it to the library…it is my precious (Lord of the Rings reference there). Before I got this book I would go to the library and borrow a large book of science experiments but it is nice to just have my own now. I also have more science experiments put together on my blog here if you want to check out more.

Fun with Science Experiments : 3 States of Matter

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