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In the Pressure Paradox Demonstration Kit for physical science and physics, determine if a small steel ball is heavier than a large foam ball. A perfect activity to discuss pressure and density.

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What does pressure feel like? In this activity, students hold a small steel ball in one hand and a large foam ball in the other to answer the question—which one is heavier? Students quickly conclude that the small steel ball is heavier. However, when they weigh each ball with a balance, they learn the truth—the large foam ball weighs more. How could this be? Students have misinterpreted their sense of touch as a gauge for weight, when, in actuality, this feeling is a result of pressure. A perfect activity to discuss pressure and density.

Enough materials for five groups of students are provided.

Correlation to Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS)

Science & Engineering Practices

Asking questions and defining problems

Disciplinary Core Ideas

MS-PS1.A: Structure and Properties of Matter
HS-PS1.A: Structure and Properties of Matter

Crosscutting Concepts

Scale, proportion, and quantity

Performance Expectations

MS-ESS3-2: Analyze and interpret data on natural hazards to forecast future catastrophic events and inform the development of technologies to mitigate their effects.
MS-ESS3-3: Apply scientific principles to design a method for monitoring and minimizing a human impact on the environment.