The Properties of Air
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Dores H. Cook Gallistel Language Academy
10347 S. Ewing Avenue
Chicago, Il. 60617
Students will be able to describe the properties of air. They will be able to
conclude that air is a gas, that air has weight, that air exerts pressure and
that moving air is called wind.
The following list is for a class of thirty students. Each student should have
small plastic zip-lock bag straw
balloon 9x12 sheet of construction paper
The teacher will need:
two 2 liter bottles string
two pans hot water
eight balloons (same size) ice
tape meter stick
styrofoam cooler clamp
hot plate (heat water) metal pot
These activities and experiments are teacher directed. Each lesson should
take approximately fifteen minutes to complete. The exception is the second
lesson, which could not be timed.
1. Initially the students should inhale deeply and slowly exhale to ascertain
whether or not they see anything. They should inhale again, hold their
breath and roll the air around in their mouth to determine whether or not
they can taste the air. Finally, the students take three short "sniffs" of
air to determine if they smell anything. After each of these activities,
the students should conclude that air is a colorless, tasteless and odorless
2. Take two empty plastic bottles and place a balloon over the mouth of each
bottle. Put one bottle in a pan of hot water and put the other bottle in a
pan with ice. Observe the results. The consensus should be that air exerts
3. Suspend a meter stick from a curtain rod. Tie three balloons on each end.
Make sure the meter stick is balanced. Remove three balloons (from the same
end) inflate them and tie the end of each. Then rehang the inflated
balloons. The students should conclude that air has weight.
4. Inflate a balloon. Inflate a plastic bag using a straw. The students
should note that air takes up space and that air has no definite shape.
5. Fold a sheet of paper several times to make a fan. Move the fan rapidly
back and forth in front of your face. The students should feel the air.
They should conclude that moving air is called wind.