Investigation Sequence

Title

Air

Written by:

R. Sweetland                 Date

Fall 2002

Focus Questions

What is air?
What are the properties of air?
What causes air and water to flow?
What causes air pressure?

Concepts

Content: Earth, Physical, & Life

Air is matter; occupies space, exerts a force or pressure
Gases and liquids flow when they exert unequal pressure on each other.

Cross cutting concepts

Equilibrium
When objects exert equal forces on each other they are at equilibrium.
When objects are not in equilibrium one will displace the other.

Science Practice

Experimenting and reasoning observational data can be collect and used to create explanations or reasons that can be used to predict future interactions and the results of those interactions.

Personal, Social, Technology, Nature of Science, History

 

Background information

Matter occupies space. No two objects can occupy the same space at the same time. Air can be pushed out of the way by solid objects, liquids and gases. There is a lot of air above us pushing down. Solids, liquids, and gases exert more pressure at the bottom than at the top.

 

Activity Sequence

1.. Balloon in water
2. Inverted cup pushed under water
3. Inverted cup with paper wadded up inside pushed under water
4. Large plastic cup filled with water and holes punched through the side at the top, middle, and bottom.
5. Baby food jar with one hole punched, screwed on tight and pushed under water
6. Baby food jar with two holes punched in lid, screwed on tight, and pushed under water. Rotated in every direction to observe differences. Investigate how water does an does not flow through the hole(s).
7. Rubber or plastic tube, syringe, tub of water, baby food jar filled with water inverted and submerged. Challenge is to remove the water form the baby food jar without lifting it from the water.
8. Cheap yard stick on table with on-third of it hanging over, with one full newspaper sheet placed on top of the other two-thirds, karate chop
9. Straw with water and finger on top
10. Cup filled with water with car over top and inverted.

Activity Descriptions

Activity 1
Balloon in water
Materials:
Balloons inflated to different sizes (at least three), tub of water, science journal or drawing materials
Procedure:
1. Ask students what will happen when they put the balloons into the water.
2. Listen to responses. Do not comment on accuracy.
3. Ask what will happen with the different sizes.
4. Ask how they can record their data.
5. Have students submerge balloons and record data.
6. Have students share their pictures.
7. Have students pick one of their pictures and line up according to the results.
8. Ask students to interpret results.
9. Ask where at home would they be able to see the same kind of results (kitchen sink with dishes, bath…).

Activity 2 and 3
Inverted cup with and without paper towel inside pushed under water
Materials:
Clear cup or glass, tub of water, paper towels, journal or drawing materials
Procedure:
1. Ask the students what will happen if the cup is placed into the water.
2. Ask them what will happen if the cup is placed open end down into the water.
3. Have the students do the activity and draw where the water is.
4. Have the students share their drawings and discuss where the water goes.
5. Ask the students where the water is if the glass is tipped to the side.
6. Have them draw pictures to show their answers, discuss, and have them prove them if the desire
7. Ask how they could use the paper towel to prove that there was or was not water in the glass when it was pushed under the water.
8. Ask them what will happen if the cup is placed open end down into the water.
9. Have the students do the activity and draw where the water is.
10. Have the students share their drawings and discuss where the water goes.
11. Ask the students where the water is if the glass is tipped to the side.
12. Have them draw pictures to show their answers, discuss, and have them prove them if the desire.

Activity 4
Plastic cup with three holes punched in the side
Materials:
Large plastic pop cup, punch one hole at the top, middle, and bottom of a side, cove each hole with masking tape, fill with water, hold over bucket, pull tape from the holes, journal or drawing supplies
Procedure:
1. Ask the students what will happen when the tape is pulled from the holes.
2. Ask them to put any differences they predict in order from greatest to least
3. Pull the tape
4. Have students draw the results
5. Ask them what made a difference
6. Have them record in their journal what happened and where they could see something similar.

Activity 5 and 6
Baby food jar with holes in lid
Materials:
Baby food jar, several lids for each jar, one with no holes, one with one hole in center, one with two holes - one toward each opposite edge, journal or drawing supplies
Procedure:
1. Ask the students what will happen if they put the jar into the water with holes in the lid. Ask them to sort the jars into categories according to amounts of water that will enter. Empty, half, full. Ask them if they remember the glass and if it made a difference how the glass was put into the water. Recommend that they try different ways and if there is a difference to record the differences in their journals.
2. Have the students experiment and draw pictures of what happens.
3. Encourage the students to turn the jars.
4. Watch the students as they record the information. See if they are drawing the position of the holes accurately for the results.
5. Have students share their drawings.
6. Make a chart with the following categories: No holes, one hole, two holes.
7. Poll the students and record if there was water in the jars for each category.
8. Ask the students to explain the results.
9. Ask if they can think of how they could use the results.

Activity 7
Remove water from baby food jars without lifting if from the water.
Materials:
Baby food jar, plastic tubing, syringe that the tubing will fit, tub of water
Procedure:
1. Ask the students if they fill the jar with water and put it upside down under water so that all the water is still inside.
2. Ask the students if they can use the syringe and tubing to get the water out of the jar.
3. Let the students experiment.
4. The students usually try to suck the water out of the cup. It will be up to you to decide if and how to prompt them to try to push air into the cup to push the water out.
5. Ask the students to draw a before, during, and after picture and explain what happened.
6. Have the students share their results.
7. Ask the students where they could use what they learned.

Activity 8
Stick breaking
Materials:
Cheap yard stick, full sheet of newspaper
Procedure:
1. Set the yardstick on a table with about two-thirds on the table and one-third hanging over the edge. Place the full sheet of newspaper over the two-thirds of newspaper on the table. Smooth the paper out so it is touching the stick.
2. As the students what will happen if you smack the stick on the end that is hanging over the table.
3. Use a quick sharp blow on the end of the stick that is hanging over the edge of the table.
4. Ask the students what happened and how it happened.
5. Ask the students if they know of other ways that air has force (a push or pull).

Activity 9
Straw with water and finger on top
Materials:
Straw and cup of water
Procedure:
1. Ask the students what will happen if they put the straw into the cup of water and pull it out.
2. Ask them if they can do it so the water will stay in the straw and so it won't.
3. Ask them what makes the difference.

Activity 10
Upside down cup of water
Materials:
Cup, index card large enough to cover the opening on the cup, water, and tub
Procedure:
1. Ask the students what will happen if they fill the cup full of water, place the card over the mouth, and turn the cup upside down.
2. Have the students do the activity.
3. Ask them what happened and how it happened.
4. Ask them if they can think of other examples of air having force.}

Activity 11

Challenge How can you use the materials to lift the student?

Materials: Plastic bag, air pump, duct tape, board, chair, student.

Dr. Robert Sweetland's notes