Fascinating Experiments

Air Flow


  • A toy airplane
  • A chopstick
  • Fishing line
  • A clear container
  • Water
  • Food colouring


  1. Fill the clear container with water.
  2. Use fishing line to attach the airplane to the chopstick, as if you were making a marionette.
  3. Suspend the airplane in the water and wait for it to stop moving.
  4. Carefully drop food colouring into the water over the wings, nose, etc.
  5. Observe and record what happens!

Click for larger image

Ontario Curriculum Links

Grade 2

SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY: Understanding Earth and Space Systems

  • Air and Water in the Environment
    • Investigate, through experimentation, the characteristics of air
    • Investigate, through experimentation, the characteristics of water

Grade 6

SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY: Understanding Structures and Mechanisms

  • Flight
    • Use scientific inquiry/experimentation skills to investigate the properties of air
    • Identify the properties of air that make flight possible
    • Describe, in qualitative terms, the relationships between the forces of lift, weight, thrust, and drag that are required for flight

Grade 8

SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY: Understanding Matter and Energy

  • Fluids
    • Investigate and compare the density of a variety of liquids
    • Investigate applications of the principles of fluid mechanics

Quebec Curriculum Links

Elementary Cycle Two


  • Matter
    • Properties and characteristics of matter on Earth
      • Soil, water and air

Elementary Cycle Three


  • Forces and Motion
    • Pressure (e.g., pressure in a balloon, on an airplane wing)

Suggestions for Art Activities

We could have spent all day watching the food colouring float through the water as we photographed this experiment! Students can create amazing drawings or paintings, based on the shapes and patterns they see as the food colouring flows through water and around the airplane.

For younger classes, a possible musical activity could involve making up sounds to go with various stages of the process. After watching the experiment once or twice, guide students in thinking up different sounds to associate with the experiment. Does the food colouring go “plop” or “splash”? Is it a high, squeaky sound? Maybe the sounds go fast then slow, or high then low. Have students use their voices and add movement to mimic the food colouring as it wends its way down to the bottom (end with everyone lying on the floor like the food colouring at the bottom of the container).

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