ALTOONA, Pa. (WTAJ) — In this episode of Science with Shields, Christy Shields shows you how air takes up space using a potato and a straw.  

What you need: 

  1. Parent or guardian
  2. Potato
  3. Straw
  4. Scissors


You may want a parent or guardian to help you with this experiment. If you have a bendy straw, use scissors to cut off the bendy part. Now with your straw, try to put a hole in your potato. Make sure to watch out where your fingers are placed so you don’t hurt them. You probably cannot get the straw into the potato. No, cover one end of the straw with your thumb and try. Your straw should be able to now pierce through the potato!


In this experiment, you can see how air takes up space. When the air can move freely through the straw, it makes the straw not as strong and more flexible. When you put your thumb over one end of the straw, it traps that air making the sides of the straw stronger since the air is pushing onto the sides of the straw, holding it in place. Once you trap the air, you will be able to get the straw through the potato.