Under Pressure

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In this experiment, learners examine how pressure affects water flow. In small groups, learners work with water and a soda bottle, and then relate their findings to pressure in the deep ocean. The printable six-page handout includes: a series of inquiry-based questions to get students thinking about pressure, both in the air and under water; illustrated experiment directions; and a worksheet that includes thought-provoking questions along with areas for recording experiment data.

Quick Guide

Preparation Time:
Under 5 minutes

Learning Time:
45 to 60 minutes

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

Age Range:
Ages 11 - 18

Resource Types:
Activity, Experiment/Lab Activity


Materials List (per group of students)

  • 2-liter clear soda bottle, empty (without cap) and clean
  • water to fill the bottle
  • masking or duct tape, cut into three two-inch pieces
  • empty sink or tub
  • scissors/knife


  • Earth and Space Science
    • Earth Structure
      • Oceans and Water
  • Engineering and Technology
    • Engineering
      • Ocean Engineering
  • Mathematics
    • Measurement
      • Rate
  • Physical Sciences
    • Motion and Forces
    • States of Matter
      • Liquids
    • Structure and Properties of Matter
      • Mass and Weight
      • Volume and Density
  • The Nature of Science
    • The Scientific Process
      • Conducting Investigations
      • Gathering Data
      • Formulating Explanations
      • Communicating Results


To use this activity, learners need to:

  • see
  • read
  • touch

Learning styles supported:

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


Access Rights:

  • Free access



  • All rights reserved, American Museum of Natural History, 2002