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Gases Matter

Author(s): Nancy Moreno, PhD, Barbara Tharp, MS, and Judith Dresden, MS.

Let’s Talk About It

This demonstration provides a basic introduction to the concept of gases. Students discover that even though we cannot see or smell many gases, it is possible to observe them. For example, gases put pressure on the walls of containers such as balloons, balls or tires. 

Stimulate a discussion about what happened to the balloon after the vinegar and baking soda were mixed. Challenge students to offer their best explains about why the balloon expanded. During this class discussion, expect a variety of answers and observations. In response, pose questions that may point students in the right direction and encourage them to think. For example, ask, What happened to the balloon. Did it expand, or inflate? How much did it inflate? What did you see happening in the bottom of the bottle? Why did the balloon inflate? You may want to mention that a chemical reaction occurred.

Help students to understand that carbon dioxide also is produced as a waste product by most living cells.


Funded by the following grant(s)

National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences, NIH

National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences, NIH

The Environment as a Context for Opportunities in Schools
Grant Numbers: 5R25ES010698, R25ES06932


Houston Endowment Inc.

Houston Endowment Inc.

Foundations for the Future: Capitalizing on Technology to Promote Equity, Access and Quality in Elementary Science Education