Properties of Matter

Pressure Fountain

Enrichment Activity for 5-11 11-14

What you need

  • A plastic bottle
  • Scissors
  • A straw
  • Putty
  • Food colouring
  • A balloon


  1. Make a small hole about 10 cm from the bottom of the bottle, stick the straw through it till half remains outside, pointing upwards Seal the hole with putty
  2. Fill the bottle halfway with water dyed with the food colouring. No water will come out of the straw
  3. Blow up the balloon, keeping the air inside as you stretch the neck over the top of the bottle, then release. Water spurts from the straw as the balloon deflates!

Results and Explanation

Air presses down equally on the water in the bottle and in the straw at first, but attaching the inflated balloon increases the air pressure in the bottle. As it deflates, the air presses down on the water, pushing it through the straw.

These experiments have not been specifically safety tested for home use but we believe them to be safe if the instructions are followed. Adult supervision or direction is recommended as appropriate. All experiments are carried out at your own risk.

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