Dunk and Flip

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Learners complete two simple experiments to prove the existence of air and air pressure which surround us. First, they push an inverted cup into water; the air in the cup prevents water from entering. Then, they try to flip up a meter stick covered by paper; the air above the paper pushes down and prevents the stick from moving easily. These can also be used as demonstrations. When learners set up a free account at Kinetic City, they can answer bonus questions at the end of the activity as a quick assessment. As a larger assessment, learners can complete the Smart Attack game after they've completed several activities.

Quick Guide

Preparation Time:
Under 5 minutes

Learning Time:
5 to 10 minutes

Estimated Materials Cost:
1 cent - $1 per group of students

Age Range:
Ages 8 - 11

Resource Types:
Activity, Demonstration


Materials List (per group of students)

  • Paper towels
  • A clear plastic cup
  • A watertight container deep enough to contain the entire cup
  • A few sheets of newspaper
  • A ruler, yardstick, or wooden stick at least 12 inches long


  • Earth and Space Science
    • Earth Structure
      • Atmosphere
  • Physical Sciences
    • Motion and Forces
    • States of Matter
      • Gases
  • The Nature of Science
    • The Scientific Process
      • Conducting Investigations


To use this activity, learners need to:

  • see
  • read
  • use mouse
  • touch

Learning styles supported:

  • Involves hands-on or lab activities


Components that are part of this resource:

Includes assesments for student learning:

This resource is part of:

Access Rights:

  • Free access


  • American Association for the Advancement of Science


  • All rights reserved, American Association for the Advancement of Science, 2009

Funding Source:

  • National Science Foundation