The Air Around Us


Wanda Pitts

This lesson was created as a part of the SMART website and is hosted by the Illinois Institute of Technology


Third grade students will be able to demonstrate that air occupies space.  



napkins, glass, bowl, and a bowl


Ask the question what is air?  Air is a mixture of gases.  Air is necessary for living things.  It is also a renewable resource.   The teacher will put the definition on the board.  Ask the students what will happen  to a crumpled napkin  pushed into a glass when the glass is pushed straight down into a bowl of water.  Students will make a prediction.

Show students the materials that are needed in the experiment and state the problem.

Problem:  What will happen to a napkin in a glass when the glass is placed in a bowl of water?

Pass out individual scientific method worksheet and students will write down their predictions and hypothesis.  Ask volunteers to explain the reasons for their predictions.

Students will conduct the experiment.

Discuss results as explained in the objective.

Students will complete the student scientific method worksheet.

Performance Assessment:

Students will be able to understand that air occupies space.



The air that is trapped inside the glass  and there is no room for the water to get in.  This shows that the glass was full of something even though you could not see it.



McGraw Hill Science, New York, New York, 2000



Name_____________________________________________________  Date ________________________________

                                                               Scientific Method

                                                              The Air Around Us

Problem:  What will happen to a napkin in a glass when the glass is placed in a bowl of water?




Hypothesis:  The napkin will_____________________________________________________________________________

                                         A.  stay dry

                                          B.  get soggy

                                          C.  disintegrate

                                           D.  absorb all the water in the bowl

Procedure:  Crumple a napkin and push it in the bottom of a glass.  Turn the glass upside down into the bowl of water.  Pull the glass out.  What happened to the napkins?

Conclusion:  The napkin__________________________________________________________________________________



Draw a picture of the experiment:







Air pressure

Air pressure and hurricanes

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