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High & Low Air Pressure Lesson for Kids

Lesson Transcript
Instructor: Tammie Mihet

Tammie has taught elementary school for 14 yrs. and holds an MA in Instructional Technology

Explore the meteorological topic of air pressure. Discover what defines a high- or low-pressure system, weather typically associated with these systems, and why air pressure is responsible for stronger-than-usual winds. Updated: 12/07/2021

What Is Air Pressure?

Do you ever get energetic and really hyper? Well, guess what? Air molecules get hyper too and love to bounce around! This excitement, coupled with the force of gravity, causes air molecules to have weight and put pressure on everything they touch. This is what we call air pressure, or the force exerted, or applied, on a surface because of the weight of air. Measuring the amount of air pressure in an area is what allows meteorologists, or scientists who study and attempt to predict the weather.

To try to visualize air pressure, imagine for a moment that air is like a giant hand pushing down on earth. Sometimes this giant hand puts a lot of pressure on earth and sometimes it puts a little. When this giant hand exerts a high amount of pressure, it holds the air molecules down and won't let them float up. As the giant hand exerts less pressure, the air molecules are able to float high up into the air. Keep this picture of a giant hand in your mind as we look more closely at 'high pressure' and 'low pressure.'

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  • 0:04 What Is Air Pressure?
  • 1:00 High Pressure
  • 1:58 Low Pressure
  • 2:25 Windiness
  • 2:48 Lesson Summary
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High Pressure

When air molecules exert a lot of pressure on the surface of Earth, meteorologists call this a high pressure area. Meteorologists then use that information to predict the weather. How do they do this? Well, to fully understand this, you have to think about the water cycle. Remember in the water cycle, water on Earth evaporates into the sky, condenses into clouds, and eventually falls back to Earth as precipitation. So, in order for it to eventually rain, you need water to evaporate into the sky.

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