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atmospheric pressure 2Caption: ALPs students at East Woods experience the “weight” of the atmosphere …

Good friend, photographer and videographer, Michael Fairchild invited me to assist him recently in making a video of the ALPs program students at East Woods learning about atmospheric pressure. In addition to using an up cycled fridge compressor to do basic experiments in a vacuum chamber we opened with a simple demonstration using a large garbage bag and a domestic canister vacuum cleaner — the aim being to let the student crouched inside the bag feel the full weight of atmospheric pressure, something we do not ordinarily experience.

Students clearly have a lot of fun being shrink wrapped as you see in the introduction to this video on Experiments in Atmospheric Pressure created by Michael for OMNiLearn’s ALPs program at the East Woods School.

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Photo and video credits: Created for the education of ALPs program students at East Woods School, Oyster Bay, NY and uploaded with the permission of Jane Powel, founder of OMNiLEARN, and ©Michael Fairchild, photographer and videographer.

For those wishing to repeat the garbage bag experiment at home, please do it with adult supervision — and keep your head out of the bag! Create a basket around the end of the vacuum hose inside the bag so that neither your clothing nor the plastic bag blocks the pipe while air is being extracted. An assistant will need to bunch up and hold the mouth of the garbage bag up around your neck as tightly as possible. An adult may try doing the same by inserting just an arm into a bag with the hose.

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