Resource 3: Everyday examples of pressure

Teacher resource for planning or adapting to use with pupils

Everyday examples of pressure

Following are some real-life examples of pressure in action:

  • If you are carrying a heavy bag, narrow handles or straps cut into your hands and shoulders, but broad handles and straps are more comfortable.
  • Narrow heels on shoes sink in further than wide, flat heels.
  • Spreading your weight over a larger area stops you sinking in.
  • Heavy vehicles that are used on softer ground need to have bigger, wider tyres.
  • A sharp knife has a narrower blade edge than a blunt one, and is easier to cut with.
  • Nails and tacks have a flat hammering head plus a sharp point to make it easier to hammer into wood, but also puncture tyres.
  • Large machines for digging, grabbing or lifting use hydraulic pressure systems.

Below are some everyday items that rely on pressure to work:

  • suction pads
  • sucking a drink up with a straw
  • siphons
  • syringes
  • bicycle pumps
  • water pumps
  • hydraulic jacks for lifting cars
  • pneumatic controls
  • vacuum cleaners.

Resource 2: Brainstorming

Resource 4: Examples of Physics in action