Barbara P. Lorde
This lesson was created as a part of the SMART website and is hosted by the Illinois Institute of Technology
Level: First Grade
Focus: Ask the students to talk about air. Can the students see air? How do they know it is there? (feel it, smell it)
Background: All things need air to live. People have survived as long as a month without food and more than a week without
water, but a human being can only live a few minutes without air. Air is something we can not see, we can not hold
onto, yet it is almost every where. In fact, since we can not see, smell, taste, or touch air, we really know about
air because of the things it does. You may not be able to see air, but by doing the following activities, you will see
that air does exist.
Giant Floating Bubbles
Bubbles are air or gas trapped inside a liquid ball
basin or dish pan
4 cups of water
2 cups of liquid dish washing detergent
2 cups of glycerin (available in most drug stores)
2 teaspoons of corn syrup
4 wire hangers or more
Mix the water, detergent, glycerin, and corn syrup in a large basin or dish pan.
Bend the wire hanger into a circle, a star, or other interesting closed shape.
Submerge your hanger in the basin, and lift it out gently. Now hold it carefully and run!
Watch the bubbles blow behind you.
One paper bag for each student
First have the students open the lunch bag and look inside. Ask the students if there is anything in the bag. Secondly,
have the students blow air into the bag and hold the top tight with their hands. Ask them what is the bag now? Discuss
with the students that even though air is invisible it still takes up space.
Can You Answer This Science Riddle?
You can't see me,
You can't hold me,
You can pass through me;
I take up space, even own.
What am I?
Once each student has completed the experiment, discuss why the giant floating bubbles trapped air.
Is Air Really There?
The Air Around Us