Looking for a new way to talk about grain safety in the classroom, at your next safety event, or just at home with the kids? Grain engulfment can sometimes be a complicated idea to grasp for young ones. Conduct the demonstration below to help them understand how hard it can be to breathe if engulfed by grain.
- Large round latex balloon
- Large diameter drinking straws
- Duct or masking tape
- 5-gallon bucket
- Corn, soybeans, or other grain
Attach the straw to the balloon securely so no air can be released. Blow up the balloon through the straw. It will need to fi t in the bucket so keep it smaller than the bucket diameter. Place a finger over the straw opening so the air is not released.
Hint: Blowing up the balloon several times without the straw first will make it easier to blow up after the straw is attached.
Place the balloon in the bucket holding on to the straw opening so air is not released. Have another person pour the grain on top of the infl ated balloon so there are several inches of grain on top. Allow all the children to see that the balloon is covered with grain.
Gradually release the air from the balloon. Have the children watch what happens to the grain level. It should go down as the air is released. After all the air is released, try to blow the balloon up with the grain on top. If enough grain is on top of the balloon this can’t be done. If time allows, have each person do their own balloon and straw. This way there is no problem with spreading germs by sharing straws.
For more demonstration ideas check out our Grain Safety Packet.