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published by the WGBH Educational Foundation
This Shockwave tutorial for Grades 5-8 explores properties of gases in an interactive, game-like environment. It was designed to help students build concepts about mass, volume, and density of gases. Activity 1 dispels the myth that "gas is weightless" (a commonly-held misconception among secondary students). Activity 2 demonstrates density as students place helium, air, water, and oil in a virtual cylinder.  Activity 3 illustrates what happens at the molecular level as gases are heated or cooled or undergo pressure changes.

Editor's Note: This item is part of NOVA's "Balloon Race Around the World" web site. SEE RELATED ITEMS for a link to a teacher's guide and additional interactive resources.

Teachers' Domain is an NSF-funded pathway of the National Science Digital Library (NSDL).
It is a growing collection of more than 1,000 free educational resources compiled by researchers and experienced teachers to promote the use of digital resources in the classroom.

Please note that this resource requires Shockwave.
Subjects Levels Resource Types
Education Practices
- Active Learning
= Inquiry Learning
- Technology
= Multimedia
Fluid Mechanics
- Statics of Fluids
= Density and Buoyancy
Thermo & Stat Mech
- Thermal Properties of Matter
= Density
= Pressure
= Temperature
= Thermal Expansion
- Middle School
- High School
- Informal Education
- Instructional Material
= Activity
= Curriculum support
= Interactive Simulation
= Problem/Problem Set
= Tutorial
Appropriate Courses Categories Ratings
- Physical Science
- Physics First
- Conceptual Physics
- Lesson Plan
- Activity
- New teachers
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General Public
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© 2004 WGBH Educational Foundation, 2004
NOVA, active learning, constructivist learning, gas properties, gas simulation, properties of matter, science videos, simulations, videos
Record Cloner:
Metadata instance created February 15, 2011 by Caroline Hall
Record Updated:
February 23, 2011 by Lyle Barbato
Last Update
when Cataloged:
March 17, 2008

AAAS Benchmark Alignments (2008 Version)

4. The Physical Setting

4D. The Structure of Matter
  • 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/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.

This resource is part of a Physics Front Topical Unit.

Topic: Heat and Temperature
Unit Title: The Relationship Between Heat and Temperature

Lots of bang for the buck in this simple Shockwave tutorial. Part 1 helps dispel the myth that "gas is weightless". Part 2 demonstrates density of gases as students place air, water, helium, and oil in a virtual cylinder. Part 3 explores what happens at the molecular level as gases are heated/cooled.

Link to Unit:
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Record Link
AIP Format
(WGBH Educational Foundation, Boston, 2004), WWW Document, (http://www.teachersdomain.org/resource/phy03.sci.phys.matter.balloon/).
Teachers' Domain: Floating and Sinking: Hot Air Balloons, (WGBH Educational Foundation, Boston, 2004), <http://www.teachersdomain.org/resource/phy03.sci.phys.matter.balloon/>.
APA Format
Teachers' Domain: Floating and Sinking: Hot Air Balloons. (2008, March 17). Retrieved October 13, 2015, from WGBH Educational Foundation: http://www.teachersdomain.org/resource/phy03.sci.phys.matter.balloon/
Chicago Format
WGBH Educational Foundation. Teachers' Domain: Floating and Sinking: Hot Air Balloons. Boston: WGBH Educational Foundation, March 17, 2008. http://www.teachersdomain.org/resource/phy03.sci.phys.matter.balloon/ (accessed 13 October 2015).
MLA Format
Teachers' Domain: Floating and Sinking: Hot Air Balloons. Boston: WGBH Educational Foundation, 2004. 17 Mar. 2008. 13 Oct. 2015 <http://www.teachersdomain.org/resource/phy03.sci.phys.matter.balloon/>.
BibTeX Export Format
@misc{ Title = {Teachers' Domain: Floating and Sinking: Hot Air Balloons}, Publisher = {WGBH Educational Foundation}, Volume = {2015}, Number = {13 October 2015}, Month = {March 17, 2008}, Year = {2004} }
Refer Export Format

%T Teachers' Domain: Floating and Sinking: Hot Air Balloons
%D March 17, 2008
%I WGBH Educational Foundation
%C Boston
%U http://www.teachersdomain.org/resource/phy03.sci.phys.matter.balloon/
%O application/shockwave

EndNote Export Format

%0 Electronic Source
%D March 17, 2008
%T Teachers' Domain: Floating and Sinking: Hot Air Balloons
%I WGBH Educational Foundation
%V 2015
%N 13 October 2015
%8 March 17, 2008
%9 application/shockwave
%U http://www.teachersdomain.org/resource/phy03.sci.phys.matter.balloon/

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Teachers' Domain: Floating and Sinking: Hot Air Balloons:

Is Part Of http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/nova/balloon/

A link to the home page for NOVA's Balloon Race Around the World project. It includes additional tutorials on the jet stream, the atmosphere, and history of ballooning. Don't miss the Teacher's Guide.

relation by Caroline Hall

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