Gases and Their Properties

Flat As a Pancake? Exploring Rising in Baked Goods

In this Activity, students investigate the action of leavening agents in baked goods. They first compare the results when leavening agents are added to water, with and without heating. They then prepare biscuits using dough that has been placed in different temperature environments and compare them. Preparing the biscuits requires an oven.

Sink or Swim: The Cartesian Diver

In this Activity, students assemble a Cartesian diver and observe the effects of changing the pressure and temperature. An optional extension challenges students to cause the diver to hit the bottom in one minute by connecting the diver bottle to a second bottle in which baking soda and vinegar are reacted.

Burning to Learn: An Introduction to Flame Retardants

In this Activity, students test common household substances to see how they change the way paper burns. Strips of filter paper are soaked in saturated solutions, dried, and briefly held in a flame. The Activity demonstrates the effectiveness of flame retardants. It could be used when discussing combustion reactions or during a unit on practical or everyday chemistry.

Acid-Base Reactions with Carbon Dioxide

In this Activity, students investigate two acid-base reactions. In the first reaction, an aqueous solution of powdered laundry detergent is neutralized with the acid formed by the dissolution of exhaled carbon dioxide. This uses the spice turmeric as an indicator. In the second reaction, vinegar and baking soda produce carbon dioxide gas.

Just Breathe: The Oxygen Content of Air

In this Activity, students determine the concentration (percent volume) of oxygen in air. They place small quantities of fine steel wool into a test tube that is then inverted in a beaker of water. Oxygen in the trapped air reacts with the iron to form rust. The Activity ties in well with atmospheric chemistry.