Quick Bite: Pondering Pressure

15-minute clock icon Quick Bite: Pondering Pressure

What is air pressure, and what affects or changes it? We can explore this question using a PhET simulation that allows us to visualize gas particles and their motion.

Have your students explore this simulation for a few minutes on their own individually or in small groups, starting with the 'Intro' screen, to become familiar with it. Then, ask students to use either the 'Intro' screen or the 'Laws' screen to explore the following questions: What is, or causes, air pressure? What affects or changes air pressure? Why do you think the air pressure at the bottom of the troposphere is greater than the air pressure at the top? How is an airplane cabin pressurized? 

Direct link to Gases Intro PhET simulation

Activity (grades 6-12): Air Pressure, It's in the Bag 


Extension: Gas Laws

Teachers: In the short activity above, your students are beginning their exploration of the Gas Laws that describe the relationship between the pressure, volume, temperature, and number of particles of a gas. Here are some additional resources you can use in your classroom to continue this learning:

NOAA Ocean Explorer: Gas laws and their application to scuba diving (grades 7-8)