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published by the American Chemical Society
written by Patti Galvan and Jim Kessler
This multimedia lesson by the American Chemical Society helps students understand that gases are matter with measurable mass, a topic of frequent misconception in the middle grades. Students compare the mass of a basketball before and after it is inflated, they explore the mass of a can of compressed air before and after air is expelled, and they consider how heating and cooling affect molecular motion in gases. Teachers have access to complete lesson plans for all the experiments, student activity guide sheets with answer keys, videos that depict how to do the demonstrations, and interactive animations for student use.

This lesson is part of a larger collection of resources for middle school chemistry, covering matter, changes of state, density, the periodic table and bonding, the water molecule and dissolving, and chemical change.

Please note that this resource requires Flash.
Subjects Levels Resource Types
General Physics
- Properties of Matter
Modern Physics
- Atomic Physics
= Atomic Models
Other Sciences
- Chemistry
Thermo & Stat Mech
- Thermal Properties of Matter
- Middle School
- Informal Education
- Instructional Material
= Curriculum
= Instructor Guide/Manual
= Interactive Simulation
= Lesson/Lesson Plan
= Problem/Problem Set
- Audio/Visual
= Movie/Animation
Appropriate Courses Categories Ratings
- Physical Science
- Physics First
- Lesson Plan
- Activity
- Laboratory
- Assessment
- New teachers
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General Public
Access Rights:
Free access
© 2010 American Chemical Society
chemistry animations, chemistry videos, condensation, evaporation, gas molecules, gas properties, gases, heat and temperature, molecular structure, phase change, states of matter
Record Cloner:
Metadata instance created April 26, 2011 by Caroline Hall
Record Updated:
May 3, 2011 by Lyle Barbato
Last Update
when Cataloged:
January 31, 2011

AAAS Benchmark Alignments (2008 Version)

4. The Physical Setting

4D. The Structure of Matter
  • 6-8: 4D/M1a. All matter is made up of atoms, which are far too small to see directly through a microscope.
  • 6-8: 4D/M3ab. Atoms and molecules are perpetually in motion. Increased temperature means greater average energy of motion, so most substances expand when heated.
  • 6-8: 4D/M3cd. In solids, the atoms or molecules are closely locked in position and can only vibrate. In liquids, they have higher energy, are more loosely connected, and can slide past one another; some molecules may get enough energy to escape into a gas. In gases, the atoms or molecules have still more energy and are free of one another except during occasional collisions.
  • 6-8: 4D/M8. Most substances can exist as a solid, liquid, or gas depending on temperature.
  • 6-8: 4D/M10. A substance has characteristic properties such as density, a boiling point, and solubility, all of which are independent of the amount of the substance and can be used to identify it.

11. Common Themes

11B. Models
  • 6-8: 11B/M1. Models are often used to think about processes that happen too slowly, too quickly, or on too small a scale to observe directly. They are also used for processes that are too vast, too complex, or too dangerous to study.
  • 6-8: 11B/M6. A model can sometimes be used to get ideas about how the thing being modeled actually works, but there is no guarantee that these ideas are correct if they are based on the model alone.

12. Habits of Mind

12C. Manipulation and Observation
  • 6-8: 12C/M3. Make accurate measurements of length, volume, weight, elapsed time, rates, and temperature by using appropriate devices.
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Record Link
AIP Format
P. Galvan and J. Kessler, (American Chemical Society, Washington DC, 2010), WWW Document, (
P. Galvan and J. Kessler, Middle School Chemistry: Air, It's Really There!, (American Chemical Society, Washington DC, 2010), <>.
APA Format
Galvan, P., & Kessler, J. (2011, January 31). Middle School Chemistry: Air, It's Really There!. Retrieved July 29, 2016, from American Chemical Society:
Chicago Format
Galvan, Patti, and Jim Kessler. Middle School Chemistry: Air, It's Really There!. Washington DC: American Chemical Society, January 31, 2011. (accessed 29 July 2016).
MLA Format
Galvan, Patti, and Jim Kessler. Middle School Chemistry: Air, It's Really There!. Washington DC: American Chemical Society, 2010. 31 Jan. 2011. 29 July 2016 <>.
BibTeX Export Format
@misc{ Author = "Patti Galvan and Jim Kessler", Title = {Middle School Chemistry: Air, It's Really There!}, Publisher = {American Chemical Society}, Volume = {2016}, Number = {29 July 2016}, Month = {January 31, 2011}, Year = {2010} }
Refer Export Format

%A Patti Galvan
%A Jim Kessler
%T Middle School Chemistry: Air, It's Really There!
%D January 31, 2011
%I American Chemical Society
%C Washington DC
%O text/html

EndNote Export Format

%0 Electronic Source
%A Galvan, Patti
%A Kessler, Jim
%D January 31, 2011
%T Middle School Chemistry: Air, It's Really There!
%I American Chemical Society
%V 2016
%N 29 July 2016
%8 January 31, 2011
%9 text/html

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