Air: Invisible yet so Effective    
"Wow, I had no idea that air could do that." Using novel equipment that includes a vacuum pump, other vacuum apparatus, and liquid air, Peter performs demonstrations, and conducts investigations, that grab students' attention, get them thinking, broaden their understanding, and foster a keen interest in science. This dynamic, 1-hour show is a combination of lecture, demonstration, question and answer, and student involvement that has students making predictions about, and developing explanations for, the observed phenomena. See the refusing funnel, objects released in a vacuum, a suspended student (and teacher!), expanding and shrinking balloons, a frozen squash ball break, a tin explode, and more, plus make a cloud.

The show reinforces concepts that include air as an occupier of space, objects falling in air compared with in a vacuum, the particle model of matter, pressure, expansion and contraction, and phase changes. It also addresses common student misconceptions and enriches students' understanding by extending syllabus topics both conceptually and contextually.
Comments From Schools
  • "It was a great show--the children loved it and were still talking about it weeks after. The language and experiments were at the children's level, it was funny enough to get their attention and serious enough to be educational . . . easy to hear--even if at the back . . . student involvement was terrific.  Marina Kooyman, Brassall State School, Queensland
  • "We would definitely like you to return again next year. The children appreciated the show very much, and have asked for more." Richard Bushell, Denmark Primary School, Western Australia
  • "This was a very motivating show, and the children were very excited to participate in the question and answers.  Liz Crawford, St Joseph's School, Beechworth, Victoria
  • "I really liked the way that Peter was able to engage such a wide range of students. Teachers also enjoyed the performance. Well done!!"  Ebony Ransom, Lock Area School, Lock, South Australia
  • "This was an excellent show. Many thanks from staff and students. The explanations of experiments were easy to understand. Involving the students in the experiments, and in trying to answer 'why,' was great."  Kayte Gillinder, St. George State School
  • "Great! Perfect! Excellent! Awesome! . . . I learnt a lot." Students, Killarney State School
  • "Had both staff and students enthralled." Susan Graham, Robinvale Consolidated School
  • "Very professional performance which 'hooked' children immediately. Language was very appropriate . . . . Follow-up activities suitable. Jo-Anne Shephard, Middlemount Community School
  • "They all thought it was excellent when I spoke to them afterwards." Lee Barker, Aberfoyle Park High School
  • "I would highly recommend this performance." Helen Digby, Birchip Community School
  • "It was great to see someone who actually explained some concepts . . . as well as doing the fun demonstrations. A good variety of activities." St Rita's College, Brisbane
  • "Very well done--kid's interest was maintained right through." Barry Parker, Clarence High School

The content of this show relates to the following content descriptions of the Australian Curriculum: Science:

Science Understanding.    ACSSU003, 018, 046, 074, 077, 095, 118, 151.
Science as a Human Endeavour.    ACSHE013, 021, 034, 050, 061, 081, 098.
Science Inquiry Skills.    ACSIS014, 011, 233, 012, 024, 212, 037, 214, 042, 215, 060, 064, 216, 071, 218, 093, 221, 110, 124, 133, 139, 148, 170, 174, 204, 208.

Venue Requirements

Data projector and screen, minimum ceiling height 2.75 m, two tables, enclosed or undercover venue.

SUITABLE FOR:  Upper primary, lower secondary 
(Modified Magic Science show for lower primary also available)
COST:  $6.00, plus 60c GST, per student
MINIMUM: $660, plus $66 GST Teachers' notes supplied

Accredited, for particular year groups, Education Queensland Programs Touring Queensland Schools and the New South Wales Department of School Education.

Air: Invisible yet so Effective ¦ Combustion: Some Burning Questions ¦ Electricity: A Shocking Experience ¦ Lightning: So Frightening ¦ Science: The Thrill of Discovery ¦ Day With a Scientist ¦ Scientist in Residence ¦ Vacation Science Program ¦
About the Editor/Presenter
Itinerary ¦ International Science Poetry Competition ¦ Junior Science Project ¦ Workshops for Teachers ¦
The Science Education Review