Spray bottles. Ping pong balls. Penny Whistles. When is a piece of paper like an airplane wing?

English: Pacific Ocean (June 23, 2005) - Disbu...

Ping Pong Game

There is an easy way to show one of the reasons airplanes can fly.


  • A sheet of notebook paper.
  • A pencil
  • A hair dryer


  • Curl one end of the paper around the pencil
  • I used a penny whistle and it worked just fine. It just has to curve.
  • Blow the air from the hair dryer over the paper


The far end of the paper will lift into the air

What’s Happening?

It’s called Bernoulli’s Principle.

If air flows over the top of a wing, for instance, faster than across the bottom of a wing, as happens when the top is curved, pressure on the top is lowered, helping to cause lift of the plane.

Can I Show It with a Ping Pong Ball?


If you hold a ping pong ball about six to ten inches above the nozzle of a hair dryer, then turn it on, the ball will float.

Even if you turn the nozzle almost to a 45-degree angle, the ball will continue to float.

Click here to read a NASA for Kids explanation.

What Good Is It

In addition to being one of the factors in why planes fly, the Bernoulli Principle, which is true for both fluids and air, has other applications.

A carburetor contains a narrow throat that draws in fuel, by means of low pressure, to mix with air.

Click here to see an animation demonstrating what happens when you make the throat larger or narrower.

A spray bottle pumps air across a narrow tube in the handle. The air pressure across the top of the tube is thus lowered and liquid is drawn up into the end of the tube in the liquid of the bottle and pumped out the top.

What simple tricks have you learned that demonstrate the way the world works?

Can you think of any other applications of Bernouilli’s Principle?

What else might float besides a ping pong ball?

Frugal Fridays showcase fun things to do with your grandchildren.

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To you and delighting your grandchildren.

Carol Covin, Granny-Guru

Author, “Who Gets To Name Grandma? The Wisdom of Mothers and Grandmothers


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