Red Flags
Never suck anything in through the straw.

Questions to Ask
What is coming out of the straw? Where does it come from? How many puffs does it take to blow the leaf across a table? What else could you blow with that many puffs? Which needs more puffs? Which requires less?

Science Connection
Air, which makes up our atmosphere, is a combination of many different gases and molecules. The components of air also dissolve in water. Fishes breathe dissolved oxygen with their gills. Have you ever tried to run through the water when you’re in a swimming pool or at the beach? It isn’t easy, is it? That’s because you have to push the water out of your way as you go. The same thing happens with air. As you walk across the room, you don’t really FEEL the air pushing against you, but it is. If you were a fish you probably wouldn’t notice how thick the water is... it would just feel natural since that was the environment you were used to. Air is pushing again you when you stand still, too.

To explore the power of your breath

What You Need

  • Drinking straw
  • Paper
  • Leaf
  • Rock
  • Stuffed animal
  • Variety of objects selected by the children

    What to Do
    Have children blow on their hands. How does it feel? Now ask them to blow on their hands once more—this time through straws. Does it feel different? In what way? Collect various small objects and place them on the floor. Blow on the objects through the straw. Predict which object will move furthest with just one puff.

    Air: A combination of different invisible gases and molecules. Life as we know it would be impossible without air.
    Exhaling: The act of breathing out.
    Inhaling: The act of breathing air in.

    Try This
    Ask the children to find other items around the house to blow. Find something hard to blow and something easy. Something that is big, but can be blown easily and something that is small, but hard to move. You might want to place some tape on a table to represent a Finish Line and see how many puffs it takes to blow something across the line. The children might want to blow a ping pong ball to each other through their straws. Use an empty squeeze bottle to make things move. Blow across the surface of water using a straw. Next, blow beneath the surface. What happens? Try blowing on some sugar or sand. Use straws of different lengths. Does it make a difference? Observe things moving on a windy day. Give each child a feather or a leaf. Ask them to throw their objects up in the air. Which travels further? Create a wind sock by cutting the bottom out of a brown paper bag and then decorating it with markers, paint, crayons, etc. Cut strips of newspaper and paste them on the bottom edge of the bag. Attach strings to opposite end and run in the wind.

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