The Early Years: Air Is Not Nothing

by: Peggy Ashbrook

Children usually begin to understand that a substance called air is all around us after age three, but they don’t grasp that air is matter until age five, or even older. They may learn that “air is a gas” but have difficulty naming the substance that fills a soap bubble or explaining how a balloon expands, and they don’t understand where a gas released by opening a soda or mixing baking soda and vinegar comes from or where it goes. Yet, amid these ideas, early childhood is rich with opportunities for students to experience a range of gas behaviors; even if they can’t name or explain them. The lesson in this month’s column allows students to experience air’s mass and the force it can exert on objects.


Type Journal ArticlePub Date 12/1/2008Stock # sc08_046_04_12Volume 046Issue 04

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