The AACT high school classroom resource library and multimedia collection has everything you need to put together a unit plan for your classroom: lessons, activities, labs, projects, videos, simulations, and animations. We constructed a unit plan using AACT resources that is designed to teach the Gas Laws to your students.

Grade Level

High school

NGSS Alignment

The teaching resources used in this unit plan will help prepare your students to meet the performance expectations in the following standards:

  • HS-PS1-2: Construct and revise an explanation for the outcome of a simple chemical reaction based on the outermost electron states of atoms, trends in the periodic table, and knowledge of the patterns of chemical properties.
  • HS-PS1-3: Plan and conduct an investigation to gather evidence to compare the structure of substances at the bulk scale to infer the strength of electrical forces between particles.
  • HS-PS3-2: Develop and use models to illustrate that energy at the macroscopic scale can be accounted for as a combination of energy associated with the motions of particles (objects) and energy associated with the relative positions of particles (objects)
  • HS-ETS1-2: Design a solution to a complex real-world problem by breaking it down into smaller, more manageable problems that can be solved through engineering.
  • HS-ETS1-3: Evaluate a solution to a complex real-world problem based on prioritized criteria and trade-offs that account for a range of constraints, including cost, safety, reliability, and aesthetics as well as possible social, cultural, and environmental impacts.
  • Scientific and Engineering Practices:
    • Developing and Using Models
    • Analyzing and Interpreting Data
    • Using Mathematics and Computational Thinking
    • Constructing Explanations and Designing Solutions
    • Planning and Carrying Out Investigations
    • Obtaining, Evaluating, and Communicating Information


By the end of this unit, students should be able to:

  • Explain that particles of gases are in constant random motion.
  • Understand the relationships between gas pressure, temperature, volume, and moles.
  • Calculate the final values for volume, pressure, temperature, or moles of a gas sample based on a given set of data.
  • Predict the spatial distribution, interaction, and motion of particles in a gas sample as variables are changed.
  • Interpret trends in data by examining the graph associated with each of the gas laws.
  • Compare the density of gases based on their behavior.
  • Use simulations to better understand the behavior of gases.
  • Understand how pressure, temperature, volume, and molecular weight affect how particles in a gas behave.
  • Apply the concepts of gas laws to stoichiometry problems.
  • Carry out stoichiometry problems with solid, aqueous, and gaseous states.

Chemistry Topics

This lesson supports students’ understanding of

  • Gases
  • Gas Laws
  • Properties of Gases
  • Volume
  • Temperature
  • Pressure
  • Kinetic Molecular Theory
  • Diffusion of Gases
  • Density of Gases
  • Gas Stoichiometry
  • Chemical Reactions
  • Balancing Reactions
  • Mole Ratios
  • Dimensional Analysis


Teacher Preparation: See individual resources

Lesson: 7–10 class periods, depending upon class level


  • Refer to the materials list given with each individual activity.


  • Refer to the safety instructions given for each individual activity.

Teacher Notes

  • The activities shown below are listed in the order that they should be completed.
  • The teacher notes, student handouts, and additional materials can be accessed on the page for each individual activity.
  • Please note that most of these resources are AACT member benefits.

Classroom Resources:

  • Introduce this unit to your students with the Gases Animation which allows students to visualize how volume, pressure, temperature, and quantity of a gas are related. Both qualitative and quantitative relationships are explored.
  • Then show the Founders of Chemistry Robert Boyle video which tells the story of the great chemist and discoverer of Boyle's Law, and describes the relationship between pressure and volume of a gas. Use the animation and video to guide your students through a discussion of what is happening at the atomic levels for gases. Use our Student Video Pass to have your students watch the video outside of the classroom. If you would like them to take notes during the video, there are video questions available for download on our website.
  • After the class discussion, have your students get active with the Gas Pressure Lab which will allow them to better understand what causes pressure in a container and the variables that affect pressure (volume, temperature, number of moles) by mimicking molecular motion of gases. This activity will further help your students visualize the behavior or gas particles.
  • Use the Gas Laws Simulation to introduce gas law mathematical relationships into the unit. Students investigate three of the fundamental gas laws, including Boyle’s Law, Charles’ Law and Gay-Lussac’s Law. They will also have the opportunity to visually examine the effect of changing the associated variables of pressure, volume, or temperature in each situation. Students can analyze gas samples at the particle level as well as manipulate quantitative data in each scenario. Finally, students interpret trends in the data by examining the graph associated with each of the gas laws. This lesson accompanies the simulation from the November 2015 issue of Chemistry Solutions. There is a student activity sheet to accompany the simulation.
  • Instead of lecturing or using the textbook to teach students about the gas laws, use the Deriving Gas Laws lab to investigate the relationship between temperature, volume, pressure and number of gas particles. Students draw particle diagrams and derive equations to express these relationships and then combine them to find the combined gas law and the ideal gas law. Additionally, they will use the molar volume of a gas at standard temperature and pressure to derive the ideal gas constant, R.

  • A “Day of Demos” will help students apply the concepts to phenomena they observe every day.
    • Diffusion of Particles: Use this demonstration to introduce the concepts of Kinetic Molecular Theory and diffusion of gases with the use of microwaved popcorn and the aroma it produces in your classroom. After discussing the phenomenon, students then storyboard it to show how particles diffuse through the room.
    • Make the Water Rise! - In this demonstration, students will observe the impact of temperature change on a gas through an engaging demonstration using simple household materials.
    • Balloon and Flask - In this demo, students will witness the relationship between temperature and volume as well as temperature and pressure.
    • EGG-citing Gas Laws! - In this demonstration, students will observe the impact of temperature change on gas pressure through an engaging demonstration using simple household materials.
  • Students can get more practice explaining the relationship between gas temperature, pressure, and volume with the Understanding Gas Laws activity. Through the use of an PhET Simulation, students investigate gas laws (Kinetic Molecular Theory, Partial Pressure, Boyle’s Law, Charles Law, and Gay-Lussac’s Law).
  • It’s time for the students to get some hands on experience! In the lab, Exploring Gases, students investigate the relationship between the variables of temperature, volume, and pressure. They engage in three lab station activities that each demonstrate a particular gas law and then then interpret the results, graph data points and relate given data sets to each of the three gas laws.
  • Use the demonstration, Ideal Gas Law using Carbon Dioxide to give your students the opportunity to link calculations to gas observations. Students observe dry ice sublime while the CO2 gas fills a balloon. They then calculate the moles and volume of CO2 produced.
  • In the demonstration, Comparing Gas Density, students will observe a reaction between baking soda and vinegar in the presence of a variety of different heights of lit candles. The initial environment has plenty of oxygen present in order to sustain the candle’s flame; however the reaction will produce carbon dioxide which will cause the lit candles to extinguish in order of height. Students will analyze and compare the presence of the gases in the container and make determinations about the densities of each.
  • If your students struggle with the concept of gas density use the demonstration, Density of Gases and Particle Diagrams, will help them recognize that different samples of gas will have different density values through the observation of the combustion of both propane and methane gases. This resource is featured in an article from the November 2018 issue of Chemistry Solutions.
  • Tie chemistry to real life with the Stoichiometry of Air Bags Lesson Plan. Students are introduced to the concept of gram to gram stoichiometry calculations and guided through a scenario regarding air bags. They are then tasked with calculating the amount of gas (NaN3) that must be used to inflate a vehicle air bag to the correct size. Follow-up practice problems are also provided. There is a PowerPoint presentation prepared for this lesson.

Culminating Activity

  • For a culminating activity, use the Air Bag Stoichiometry Project to allows students to make real-world connections between stoichiometry and the design of car air bags. This can be used as a class activity or as an assessment.