In this simulation, students investigate variables of a gas. From the computer models, they can see how pressure, temperature, and volume effect gas behavior.
Middle or high school
By the end of this lesson, students should be able to
- Understand that pressure is a measure of force exerted by particles.
- Recognize that temperature is proportional to the average kinetic energy of particles.
- Know that the volume of a gas is dependent on the size of the container it occupies.
This lesson supports students’ understanding of
- Gas properties
Teacher Preparation: 15 minutes
Lesson: 30 minutes
- Odyssey software
There are no specific safety concerns involved with this activity.
- To complete this activity, you must have access to Odyssey software. If you’re using version 5.1, this pairs with labs 40, 43, and 37. If you’re using version 5.0, this goes with labs 46, 48, and 52.
- There is a lesson built into the software, this lesson is not the same. The software assignment collects students’ responses; this lesson is designed for students to have a pencil-and-paper experience.
- This activity could be done individually, in small groups, or as an entire class, depending on the resources available to the teacher.
- There are quite a few labs about gases, and before I do anything with the gas laws I like to give kids some time to get adjusted to how the variables (pressure, temperature, and volume) are measured. When I do this with students, I have them do some conversions for the “units” box. I just put those sample problems on the board.
- For pressure, to complete the definition/explanation section, students can investigate the individual helium atom and a group of helium atoms. Click on the “Compare” menu item, and select “Side-by-Side.” One image should be “Helium Atom: Confined to a Box” and one “Helium: Gas.”
- For temperature, there is a bar that allows you to change the temperature of argon between -186 oC and 727 oC. By altering the temperature, students can infer that temperature is proportional to the kinetic energy of the particles.
- For volume, there is a bar that allows you to change the volume of the container from 163 nm3 to 6,501 nm3. By altering the volume, students can infer that gas particles take up the size of their container.
- The last two columns are up to student research or teacher supplied information. Pressure is measured in atm, kPa, mmHg, torr). Temperature is measured in oC or K. Volume is measured in mL or L. STP = 1 atm, 0 oC, and one mole of gas at those conditions occupies 22.4 L of space.
For the Student
|Variable||Definition/Explanation||Units for measuring||Standard Conditions (STP)|
What is gas pressure? What causes it? What factors influence it?
Kinetic Energy and Temperature
What does temperature measure? What is the lowest possible temperature?
Characteristics of Gases
How does the volume of a gas differ from the volume of a liquid or a solid?
There is no “standard volume” but the volume of one mole of any gas at STP is…