The power of air can be used to ‘push’ down on all things around the house. We use vacuum bags to store clothes, food and more. We just remove the air from one side of the bag to create a pressure difference, and the outside air pressure does the rest.

Try this FUN way to explore air pressure with ADULT help and supervision!



1 x large garbage bag

1 x vacuum cleaner


Safety Heading


This experiment should be done with an adult. Do NOT place the bag over your head!


One person should step inside a large garbage bag and bring the bag up to and around their shoulder area (NOT OVER HEAD!)

Place the vacuum pipe inside the bag as well. You may have to ensure that the end of the vacuum does not suck the bag. Place your hand over the end to allow air to flow BUT prevent the bag from being sucked into the vacuum hose.

The bag should start to ‘squeeze’ against the body of the person. Listen to them if they want you to stop as it is a VERY strange feeling having air pressure pushed against your body.

Thinking question: Why does the vacuum tube NOT get sucked in like the bag?

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The science in this mini-experiment is examining atmospheric pressure and how pressure differences cause a force on an object.

As you place the vacuum inside the bag and remove the air, you reduce the pressure inside the bag and create a ‘partial’ vacuum. Inside the bag becomes a LOW pressure region while outside the bag is normal atmospheric pressure.





Air pressure moves from areas of HIGH pressure to areas of LOW pressure. This means that the atmospheric pressure outside the bag PUSHES against the bag onto your body as it tries to move towards the LOW pressure region. It is this pushing that you feel on your body and ‘see’ the bag look like it is getting sucked onto the body.



This experiment examines the concepts of pressure, vacuum and force.


What is pressure?: Bitesized UK website

What is Pressure?: eSchoolToday website


What is a Vacuum?

Explaining a vacuum by Britannica.


Exploring Forces: Bitesized UK

Force: is a push, pull or twist that changes the speed, location or shape of something. This experiment examines the force of air pressure which pushes against you as you remove the air inside the bag.