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Air Pressure and Dent Pullers

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    The Exploratorium

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Air Pressure and Dent Pullers

In this activity, learners simulate Otto von Guericke's famous Magdeburg Hemispheres experiment. In this modern, low cost version, a pair of learners try to pull apart two suction cups (dent pullers). Learners then calculate the amount of force holding the dent pullers together.

Quick Guide

Preparation Time:
Under 5 minutes

Learning Time:
10 to 30 minutes

Estimated Materials Cost:
$10 - $20 per group of students

Age Range:
Ages 11 - 18

Resource Types:
Activity, Experiment/Lab Activity, Simulation


Materials List (per group of students)

  • 2 suction cup dent pullers
  • Calculator
  • Paper and pencil


  • Earth and Space Science
    • Earth Structure
      • Atmosphere
  • Mathematics
    • Algebra
      • Equations and Inequalities
      • Variables and Expressions
    • Measurement
      • Circles
    • Number and Operations
      • Exponents
    • Problem Solving
  • Physical Sciences
    • Motion and Forces
  • The Nature of Science
    • The Scientific Process
      • Conducting Investigations
      • Gathering Data

Informal Categories

  • Physical Activity


To use this activity, learners need to:

  • see
  • read
  • touch

Learning styles supported:

  • Involves teamwork and communication skills
  • Involves hands-on or lab activities


This resource is part of:

Access Rights:

  • Free access


  • Rathjen, Don


  • All Rights Reserved, Exploratorium, ©2010


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