Exploring the Gas Laws
This unit, sophomore students at Roberto Clemente Community Academy studied the properties of gases. Students investigated Boyle’s Law, Charles’ Law, the Ideal Gas Law, and Dalton’s Law of Partial Pressure through a combination of hands on activities and virtual labs.
The summative assessment for this unit involved students designing their own lab related to the gas laws using sports equipment such as: tennis balls, soccer balls, basketballs, volleyballs, and footballs. Once students determined the question they were going to ask, they created their hypothesis based on their knowledge of the different gas laws. Students then chose to manipulate temperature, pressure, or volume to determine how the variables were related. Once variables were selected students created their own step-by-step procedure. Students created a data table to record their observations and proceeded to follow their procedure.
During this time, the 8th floor was filled with frozen basketballs, tennis balls, or volleyballs which students were using to determine how temperature affects the bounce of a ball. Students could also be found rolling soccer balls down the hallway to determine how pressure affected the distance that a ball rolls. Once all of the experimentation was completed, students made conclusions based on the data they collected and determined whether or not their experiments supported the gas laws. During this activity students had an opportunity to investigate how the gas laws are actually related to their lives.
In addition to their summative assessment, students completed various virtual labs where they explored similar concepts related to the gas laws. For example, this week students completed a lab where they explored the gas laws in a closed container where they could observe gases on a smaller scale. Students were able to manipulate temperature, pressure, volume, number of particles, and gravity during the virtual lab. When asked whether they preferred virtual labs or hands on labs, many students said they liked both approaches to lab activities.