Using AACT Resources to Help Teach Gas Laws

By Kim Duncan on January 8, 2019


As chemistry teachers around the country plan activities for their students, AACT will be highlighting resources from our high school resource library that can be used to reinforce topics in different units throughout the school year. Our last post highlighted resources that could be used to support a Stoichiometry unit. We will now focus on articles, videos, simulations, and activities that could be used in a Gas Laws unit.

Since our original post in February 2018, we have added a few more resources that you might consider trying with your students. Additionally, we have created a unit plan that uses many of our resources to help you teach a unit on the Gas Laws.

Do you use the Robert Boyle Video from our Founders of Chemistry Series during your Gas Laws unit? We now have corresponding video questions available for your students to use while watching the video. Additionally, we have also added a Student Video Pass which allows your students to watch our videos outside of the classroom. Read more about this AACT member benefit in our September 2018 news post or on our Student Video Pass FAQs webpage.

Instead of lecturing or using the textbook to teach students about the gas laws, let them use the Deriving the 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.

Gas laws derive

We have also added three more gas laws demonstrations that you might consider using with your classes:

  • Use the Diffusion of Particles 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.
  • The behavior of gases and Kinetic Molecular Theory can also be shown with the Inflate and Shrink Wrap a Student demonstration. In the first part, a student is lifted off of a desk as other student slow air into straws connected to a garbage bag. They will then observe a garbage bag shrink wrapping a student as a vacuum removes air from the bag.
  • Most students can visualize the density of liquids and solids, but sometimes struggle with the concept of gas density. The Density of Gases and Particle Diagrams demonstration 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 gasses.
Gas laws combust

We hope that these activities can help you to reinforce several of the topics covered in a Gas Laws unit. Most of these lessons were made possible by great teachers who shared their own resources. We need your help to keep the collection growing. Do you have a great demonstration, activity, or lesson related to this topic that you would like to share with the community? Please send it along for consideration.