In "Love Connects Us," a Tapestry of Faith program
Ask for a volunteer to draw all of the air out of the jar using the straw. Under normal conditions, molecules of air from the atmosphere (called atmospheric pressure) are pushing on the outside of the marshmallow. When the air that was once pushing on the outside of the marshmallow is removed, the air trapped inside the marshmallow pushes out (expands) causing it to get larger. The marshmallows shrink when the vacuum seal is broken and air rushes back into the container.
Then invite the participant to blow into the straw. As the air in the jar increases, the marshmallow will shrink.
If you have time, allow others to try the experiment. Use a new straw and a new marshmallow each time.
Process observations with questions such as:
If any participants are unable to see the experiment, have a co-leader or a participant verbally describe the activity as it happens.
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Last updated on Tuesday, March 6, 2012.
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