Bernoulli's Principle: Lesson for Kids

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  • 0:03 Bernoulli's Principle
  • 0:52 All About Air Flow
  • 1:18 Shape of a Wing
  • 1:59 How Do Birds Fly?
  • 3:16 Lesson Summary
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Lesson Transcript
Instructor: Emily Lockhart

Emily has taught science and has a master's degree in education.

Have you ever wondered how birds fly or why airplane wings are made a certain shape? It can be explained by Bernoulli's principle, and in this lesson, you'll learn all about it!

Bernoulli's Principle

Have you ever stared at a large bird, like a hawk, circling around in the sky? It is so graceful. Have you ever wondered how birds are able to fly? Why can't humans fly?

Birds are able to fly because of their wings. Bernoulli's principle states that as air moves around an object, it creates different pressures on that object. Faster air means less pressure. Slower air means more pressure. The key to flight is creating pressure upwards on the bird's wing to keep the bird in the air. We will look at how airflow can change over a bird's wing to create pressure to push up on the wing to keep it in flight.

All About Air Flow

So what is air flow? If you have enough space, go ahead and swing your arm through the air. You can feel air as you do this, right? Air moves like water. It flows. When air flows over an object it creates pressure. If the pressure is higher on the bottom it will push an object up. In physics that's called lift.

Shape of a Wing

When a bird takes flight, its wing moves the molecules in the air. When an object, like a wing, pushes through the air, the molecules flow around the wing. Some of the air goes above the wing, and some of the air goes under the wing. Molecules are very small units that make up air and other objects.

Now, let's look closely at the shape of the wing. There is a curve at the top. At the bottom of the wing, it is straight. As the air flows around a wing, it flows faster on the top and slower on the bottom.

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