Bernoulli Obstacle Course

April 16, 2020

Think you can defy gravity with a hair dryer? You can once you discover the power of the Bernoulli Effect. 

Kimberly Kay leads an experience to discover Bernoulli's Principle of fluid dynamics.

Materials | Supplies

  • hair dryer(s)
  • extension cord
  • ping pong balls
  • paper towel, toilet paper tubes
  • chenille sticks
  • tape
  • cookie cutters
  • plastic cups
  • popsicle sticks
  • plastic containers
  • household items

Concepts Explored

  • Bernoulli's principle
  • force and motion
  • physics
  • creativity

Discovery Starters

If you break the airstream from the hair dryer, what happens to the ball? Why?

Can you make other balls float with the hair dryer?

What happens when two or more hair dryers are used together? 

When you change the velocity of the air what happens? Why?

Explore Further

Do some research on Daniel Bernoulli, a Swiss mathematician and physicist, to find out how Bernoulli's Principle explains why objects heavier than air can float.

Take your obstacle course to the next level with a leaf blower, larger balls and hula hoops.

Additional Resources

The Boy who Harnessed the Wind by William Kamkwamba and Bryan Mealer

Exploratorium Science Snacks: Balancing Ball

Steve Spangler Science: Floating Ping Pong Ball

Children's Museum of Houston: Blow Bernoulli Blow

Amazeum You Activity Guide Bernoulli Obstacle Course