Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Does air weigh anything?

A powerful chop!
We have been doing science experiments around air, movement and force. Check out the wonderful science reports on our students' blogs like this one by Marcus. Yesterday we did a fun little experiment to prove if air weighs anything or not.


Ruler, newspaper, table, volunteer (who can karate chop).


1. Place table on ruler so it balances with some of the ruler off the table.
2. Karate chop the ruler (to the side of the table).
3. Pick the ruler up, place it back where it was.
4. Screw up a sheet of newspaper, place it on top of the ruler on the table side.
5. Repeat step 2.
6. Repeat step 3.
7. Place a flat sheet of paper so that it covers the ruler on the table side. Smooth it down so that there is no air between the ruler and the piece of paper.
8. Repeat step 2.


 The ruler will flip with the force of the karate chop. When you put the screwed up bit of paper on, there will be a catapult effect. However, when you flatten the paper down, the weight of the air on the ruler acts like a counter force. When you karate chop this time, your force is met by the weight of air now holding the ruler down and the ruler smashes.


 Look and see!

Ruler Smash! from Kieren Moriarty on Vimeo.

Here is a clown doing the experiment:



  1. Awesome blogpost Mr.M,
    I love your video.
    That was a really cool experiment.
    Well done to Mr M and to all the people who had a go!

    1. Thanks, Hannah.

      I loved getting a go in this experiment! I am really enjoying these experiments and looking forward to lots more cool science.