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What Is Air? (pre-assessment)

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

The Science of Air

The following properties of air may be discussed in this activity.

  • Air is made up of a mixture of gases. The air around us is a chemical substance made of colorless, odorless gases. One of these gases, oxygen, is necessary for living cells to function. Another gas in air, carbon dioxide, is produced as a waste by most living things, and also is required for photosynthesis.
  • Gas molecules are always moving. Because heat increases the movement of gas molecules, warm air rises and cool air sinks.
  • Air also contains tiny particles. Some substances in air, such as pollen, dust or smoke, can cause susceptible people to develop allergies or asthma. Other substances, such as chemicals, can be toxic to everyone. Pollutants frequently become concentrated in indoor environments, where there is limited circulation of fresh air.

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