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Atmospheric Pressure- Rising Water (Enrique Hueyopa)


Enrique Hueyopa

Principles Illustrated

Atmospheric pressure.


    Gases and Their Properties
            4. The kinetic molecular theory describes the motion of atoms and molecules and
            explains the properties of gases. As a basis for understanding this concept:
                a. Students know the random motion of molecules and their collisions with a surface
                create the observable pressure on that surface.

Questioning Script

Prior knowledge & experience:

Students might describe how particle movement changes by an increase in temperature.  The effect of temperature on the phases of matter.

Root question:

What will happen to the water inside the test tube when the test tube is inverted and placed in the beaker?

Target response:

The heated molecules inside the test tube will cool once the test tube is removed from the fire, which means the molecules will slow down, condense.  Thus, the water inside the beaker will rise into the test tube because the air pressure will increase outside the test tube due to the slowing of the water molecules inside the test tube.

Common Misconceptions:

The water inside the test tube will leak into the beaker.

Photographs and Movies


Liem, L., Tik. (1987). Invitations to Science Inquiry. Chino Hills, CA: Science Inquiry