When you drop an object from your hand, what happens to that object? It falls to to the ground. If you have a glass of water and you turn it upside down, what happens? The water falls out of the glass and onto the floor. What makes this happen? Gravity.
Gravity is the force that pulls matter toward the Earth. It is why objects fall to the ground when dropped and why when you jump into the air, you come right back down.
Is there a way to defy gravity? Can something that normally falls to the ground simply not fall? Let’s try with this gravity experiment.
Defy Gravity Experiment
First, gather a few supplies from your kitchen.
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- Large bowl of water
- Food coloring
- Small clear glass or cup
To set up this experiment, fill your large bowl with water and add a bit of food coloring and mix it well. The color will make it easier to see the experiment. We used a large, glass mixing bowl and placed it on the kitchen counter so spilling water wouldn’t be a big deal.
Next, place a small glass in the bowl of water so that the glass fills with water. Ideally, you want the glass submerged. Our glass was sticking out of the water a tiny bit and the experiment worked just fine.
While keeping the glass under the water as much as possible, turn the glass upside down in the bowl. The glass should be full of water with no air.
Carefully lift the glass until the top of the glass is just below the surface of the water. Notice that the water is still in the glass and isn’t falling back into the bowl. The water seems to defy gravity.
Note: The glass in the photo has a thick, clear bottom, so it appears there is air in the glass, but there is not.
Lift the glass above the surface of the water. What happens to the water in the glass?
There are two forces at play in this experiment – gravity and air pressure. Gravity is always pulling matter to the Earth. The same is happening with the water in the glass. While the glass is being lifted out of the water, gravity is trying to pull the water to the Earth and out of the glass.
Air pressure is always at work, as well, constantly pushing on matter. It is pushing down on the water around the glass. This pressure is enough to overcome the force of gravity on the water in the glass and the water stays in the glass instead of falling back into the bowl. When the glass is lifted out of the water, air rushes to the top of the glass and forces the water to fall out.
Try this with a large container of water and larger glass. Do you get the same results?