Heavy Air

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In this activity and/or demonstration, learners illustrate visually and physically that air has weight. Learners balance two equally-inflated balloons hanging from string on a yard stick. Learners observe what happens when they remove the air from one balloon. Learners will discover that the yard stick will become unbalanced once the weight of air is removed from one side. Use this demonstration to introduce learners to air pressure. This lesson guide includes information about how air pressure relates to baseball as well as severe thunderstorm safety.

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 - 18

Resource Types:
Activity, Demonstration, Lesson/Lesson Plan


Materials List (per group of students)

  • Yard/meter stick
  • Two large balloons
  • String
  • Scotch tape


  • Earth and Space Science
    • Earth Processes
      • Weather and Climate
    • Earth Structure
      • Atmosphere
  • Physical Sciences
    • Motion and Forces
      • Momentum and Velocity
    • States of Matter
      • Gases
    • Structure and Properties of Matter
      • Atomic Structure
      • Elements and Periodic Table
      • Mass and Weight
      • Volume and Density
  • The Nature of Science
    • The Scientific Process
      • Conducting Investigations
      • Formulating Explanations

Informal Categories

  • Nature and Environment
  • Sports and Exercise


To use this activity, learners need to:

  • see
  • touch

Learning styles supported:

  • Involves hands-on or lab activities


This resource is part of:

Access Rights:

  • Free access



  • All rights reserved, National Weather Service,