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Ideal Gases, Acid Rain &

the Greenhouse Effect


A resource guide for Grade 6 Teachers
Donna Piscopo

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CONTENTS

Introduction...........................................................................................................page 3

Student learning outcomes.................................................................................page 4

Information:

1. Gases......................................................................................................page 5

2. Acid Rain................................................................................................page 14

3. Greenhouse Effect..............................................................................page 22

Experiments:

1. Ideal Gases: UFO Lantern & the Archimedes principle.............page 9

2. Acid Rain: Sulphur Dioxide...............................................................page 18

3. Greenhouse Effect: Convection and Inversion............................page 29

Activities/worksheets.........................................................................................page 34

Glossary...................................................................................................................page 39

Resources................................................................................................................page 41

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Introduction

This resource guide will provide information for grade 6 teachers and students
in the areas of:

Ideal Gases,

Acid Rain &

The Greenhouse Effect.

Each topic will be explored and explained with an experiment to demonstrate


the scientific content behind the topic with an aim, method and materials
listing for easy use. Each experiment will be accompanied with background
information on the subject for the teacher and students as well as a student
glossary, extra worksheets and extension activities and questions for each
topic.

These three topics all intertwine with each other with the gases learnt being
the ones responsible for both acid rain and the green house effect.

The video accompanying this resource guide explains each topic with
illustrations and descriptions of how the topics relate to each other.

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Student Learning Outcomes

Learning Outcome: Experiment Title & Number

Experiment 1: UFO Lantern &


Students should be able to define what a gas is. reading background information
for students
Experiment 1: UFO Lantern &
Students should be able to differentiate between liquids, solids
reading background information
and gases.
for students
Experiment 1: UFO Lantern &
Students should understand the concept of pressure and
reading background information
volume.
for students
Experiment 1: UFO Lantern &
Students should be able to explain upthrust and density. reading background information
for students
Experiment 2: Sulphur Dioxide:
Students should be able to discuss the normal rain cycle
A pollutant in Acid Rain
Experiment 2: Sulphur Dioxide:
Students should be able to discuss the acid rain cycle
A pollutant in Acid Rain
Students should be able to identify that the two main pollutants Experiment 2: Sulphur Dioxide:
in acid rain are sulphur dioxide and nitrogen oxide. A pollutant in Acid Rain
Experiment 2: Sulphur Dioxide:
Students should be able to explain what fossils fuels are.
A pollutant in Acid Rain
Experiment 3: Greenhouse
Students should be able to explain what green house gases are.
gases- Convection & Inversion
Students should be able to discuss the layers of the atmosphere Experiment 3: Greenhouse
and note the order they are in. gases- Convection & Inversion
Students should be able to explain the natural green house Experiment 3: Greenhouse
effect in comparison to the enhanced greenhouse effect. gases- Convection & Inversion
Students should be able to explain what global warming is and Experiment 3: Greenhouse
what the ozone layer is. gases- Convection & Inversion

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Ideal Gases
Background Information for the Teacher

Ideal gages are gas that when kept at a constant temperature, would obey the gas laws
exactly. No know gas is an ideal gas.

A solid is something that will hold its shape at a fixed volume, a liquid is something that will
obtain the shape of its containers free surface but has a fixed volume so may not necessarily
fill the container. A gas does both, it adopts the whole shape of the container and the whole
volume of a container because the molecules are more evenly spread out as opposed to a
liquid and solid where they are packed closely together. Most of the time as molecules fly
through empty space they only occasionally collide with one another or the walls of the
container and that allows us to consider the pressure of the gas as the force per unit area of
the walls of the container. Force is measured in newtons which is a change in momentum
per unit time. So the pressure depends on the density of the gas as well as the temperature.

As mentioned gases have various properties which we can observe with our senses,
including gas pressure, temperature, mass and the volume which contains the gas. These
variables are related to one another and can determine the state of the gas.

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Boyles Law: Related Volume (V) and Pressure (p)
The relationship between V and p was studied as a confined gas held at a constant
temperature. It was observed that the product of the pressure and volume are observed to
be nearly constant. So when you increase pressure you’re decreasing the volume.

Charles Law: Related Volume (V) and Temperature (T)


Assuming that pressure remains constant, the volume and absolute temperature of a
certain quantity of gas are directly proportional. So when the temperature increases so does
the volume.

V/T=V1/T1

Avogadro’s Law: Related mole (n) and Volume (V)


Avogadro’s law is stated mathematically as:

V=k Where: V is volume


n n is the amount of substance of the gas
k is the proportionality constant

The most significant consequence of Avogadro’s law is that the ideal gas constant has the
same value for all gases. This means that:

p1-V1 = p2-V2 = constant Where: p is the pressure of the gas


T1-n1 T2-n2 T is the temperature in kelvin of the gas

The rearrangement of this equation by letting R be the proportionality constant is:

pV=nRT

This is the ideal gas equation and can be used to determine any one of the missing values in
the equation by substituting the known values and mathematically solving the problem.

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Background Information for Students

Gas is everywhere. Our atmosphere is a big layer of gases that


surrounds our planet. Gases are random groups of atoms and
are arranged differently in gases, liquids and solids. In solids,
atoms and molecules are compact and close together. In liquid
atoms are more spread out. And in gases atoms are really
spread out and they are full of energy meaning they are
bouncing around constantly. Gases can fill a container of any
size or shape. That is one of their physical characteristics. For
example, a balloon no matter what shape you make it, it will be
evenly filled with the gas atoms. The atoms and molecules are
spread equally throughout the entire balloon. On the contrary if
you put water in a balloon the liquid would all sit on the bottom.

The term vapour is sometimes used instead of the word gas.


Vapour is actualy the term used to describe gas that is in the
form of a liquid, for example water. Compounds like carbon
dioxide are usually gases at room temperature so we don’t talk
about carbon dioxide vapour. Water is a liquid at room
temperature so it gets the vapour title. As we said earlier, gases
hold huge amounts of energy, and their molecules are spread
out as much as possible. With very little pressure, when
compared to liquids and solids, those molecules can be
compressed. Combinations of pressure and decreasing
temperature force gases into tubes that we use every day. For
example spray bottles such as hair sprays or toilet sprays and
soft drink in a can contains pressurised gases. Those
are both examples of gas forced into a space smaller
than it would want, and the gas escapes the first
chance it gets. This is noticeable when you first open
a can of soft drink, the noise made is the carbon
dioxide escaping.

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Fun Gas Facts:
From http://www.sciencekids.co.nz/sciencefacts/earth/gas.html

 Like solids and liquids, gas is a common state of matter.


 Pure gases are made up of just one atom. Neon is an example of a pure gas.
 Elemental gases are made up of two or more of the same atoms joined
together. Hydrogen gas (H2) is an example an elemental gas.
 Compound gases contain a combination of different atoms. Carbon monoxide
(CO) is an example of a compound gas as it contains carbon and oxygen.
 The air we breathe here on Earth is made up of different gases. It contains
around 78% nitrogen, 21% oxygen, 1% argon and a small amount of other
gases such as carbon dioxide.
 Natural gas contains mostly methane, it is used as a fuel to generate electricity
and is common in the home where it can be used for heating, cooking and
other purposes.
 Gas pressure is measured in unit called Pascals. Just like we measure length in
centimetres or millimetres.
 The helium balloons you get at parties float because helium is lighter than the
air surrounding it.
 Noble gases are a group of chemical elements that are very stable under
normal conditions. Naturally occurring noble gases include helium, neon,
argon, krypton, xenon and radon.
 The ozone layer that protects Earth from the Sun’s potentially damaging UV
light is made up of ozone (O3).
 Nitrous oxide (N20) is a gas with interesting properties that allow it to be used
in a variety of different ways, these include as an anaesthetic in hospitals (you
may have heard it referred to as laughing gas) and to increase the power of
engines in motor racing (often called nitrous or just NOS).

Common gases to be familiar with:


 Oxygen (02)
 Methane (CH4)
 Carbon Dioxide (CO2)
 Nitrous Oxide (N20)

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Experiment 1:
UFO lantern and the Archimedes’ principle
A CASE OF UPTHRUST & DENSITY OF HOT AIR

Aim: To understand the effects of upthrust on a light weight


apparatus and how evenly spread gases are in a space in comparison
to liquids or solids.

This activity requires the use of a flame be sure to use heat gloves and other
safety devices such as a lab coat and safet goggles.

Method:

Materials:
1. Obtain three pieces of polystyrene strips cut
50 cm long, 1cm wide and 1cm deep.
 Garbage bag 2. Arrange them in a triangle and stick together
 Wire with tape.
 Foil 3. Obtain a piece of foil and mould it into a
 Small dish small bowl so the foil is bowl shaped.
4. Bend a piece of wire around the top of the
 Cotton ball
foil bowl and fold it over.
 Ethanol
5. Attach three separate pieces of wire from
 Matches the foil pot to the polystyrene triangle.
 Polystyrene strips 6. Place a cotton ball in the foil pot soaked in
 Tape ethanol.
 Ruler 7. Affix the garbage bag to the triangular
 Triangular formation.
framework/ 3 poles 8. Now that he apparatus is put together place
 it over the three poles.
9. Ignite the chamber with a match
10. The apparatus should fly upwards to the
ceiling

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50cm 50cm

50cm

Tape

Wire
Ring

Foil
bow
l
Ethanol
Cotton
Ball

Flies off

Lower it over
frame work

Affix
Affix

Ignite Chamber

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Questions
1. Define the word gas

2. What makes gases different to liquids and solids?

3. Different gases make up the layers of the ______________

4. What is vapour?

5. What is pressurised gas? Give an example

6. What gases make up the air we breathe?

7. What are Nobel gases? Give 2 examples.

8. What are the chemical symbols for Oxygen, Carbon Dioxide, Methane and

Nitrous oxide? Can you draw an example of one?

9. When a solid changes to a liquid it is called what?

10. True or false: Liquids are easy to compress?

11. When a gas changes to a liquid it is called what?

12. True or false? The particles of a gas are packed together tightly

13. When solids reach their melting point what do they become?

14. True or false? Solids do not take the shape of the container they are in.

15. True or false? Gases are hard to compress

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Question Answers
1. Define the word gas:

Gases are random groups of atoms and are arranged differently in gases, liquids

and solids.

2. What makes gases different to liquids and solids?

In solids, atoms and molecules are compact and close together. In liquid atoms

are more spread out. And in gases atoms are really spread out and they are full

of energy meaning they are bouncing around constantly. Gases can fill a

container of any size or shape. That is one of their physical characteristics.

3. Different gases make up the layers of the ATMOSPHERE.

4. What is vapour?

The term vapour is sometimes used instead of the word gas. Vapour is actually

the term used to describe gas that is in the form of a liquid, for example water.

5. What is pressurised gas? Give an example

Combinations of pressure and decreasing temperature force gases into tubes

that we use every day. For example spray bottles such as hair sprays or toilet

sprays and soft drink in a can contains pressurised gases.

6. What gases make up the air we breathe?

The gases in the air around us a primarily made up of Oxygen & Nitrogen, with
small amounts of Argon and Carbon Dioxide.

7. What are Nobel gases? Give 2 examples.

Noble gases are a group of chemical elements that are very stable under normal
conditions. Naturally occurring noble gases include helium, neon, argon, krypton,
xenon and radon.

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8. What are the chemical symbols for Oxygen, Carbon Dioxide, Methane and

Nitrous oxide? Can you draw an example of one?

Oxygen (02)
Methane (CH4)
Carbon Dioxide (CO2)
Nitrous Oxide (N20)

9. When a solid changes to a liquid it is called what? MELTING

10. True or false: Liquids are easy to compress? FALSE

11. When a gas changes to a liquid it is called what? CONDENSATION

12. True or false? The particles of a gas are packed together tightly. FALSE

13. When solids reach their melting point what do they become? LIQUIDS

14. True or false? Solids do not take the shape of the container they are in. TRUE

15. True or false? Gases are hard to compress FALSE

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Acid Rain
Background Information for the Teacher
Coal combustion produces sulphur Dioxide which acts to produce acid rain. In the
experiments for this excercise a plastic well plate is used to create a series of lakes, a
number of which are buffered. The well plate is enclosed in a plastic bag to create an
ecosystem. This demonstration will show the effects of acid rain on an ecosystem.

Australia has not experienced the problems caused by acid rain in other countries around
the world. The emissions produced in this country are relatively small compared to other
countres and our geographical position isolates us from pollution caused by others.
However, being aware of the risks and keeping polluting emissions to a minimum now will
help to ensure that acid rain does not become a concern for Australia in the future.

Pure rainwater is normally acidic, partly because carbon dioxide in the atmosphere is
dissolved in it. The level of acidity is measured by pH—and normally, pure rainwater has a
pH of 5.3. Other particles in the atmosphere such as pollutants can lower the acidity level of
rain so that it falls below the generally acceptable level of between 5 and 6—and then the
rainwater is referred to as acid rain.

In regards to ecosystems..

In the experiment the students will see that acid rain can have negative ecological
consequences. Some lakes in countries such as Sweden have become so acidic, from acid
rain, that they are no longer
able to support fish life. Acid
rain also has the potential to
affect tree and plant life by
direct contact with the
plants, and also by modifying
the acidity of soils. Different
soils react differently to acid
rain depending on their
buffering ability (this will be
explored in the experiment),
which is their ability to
withstand large changes in
pH. For example, soils
covering granite will be
affected more than soils
covering limestone.

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Background Information for Students
Everyday people make use of many things found in nature. For example, we use
wood from trees to build our homes and cotton to make our clothes. The term
used for non man made sources is NATURAL RESOURCES. Some of the products
made from natural resources are obvious to us, like the timber and stone that
make buildings. Other natural resources are not as noticeable, like the
underground water where our drinking water comes from.

Natural resources that humans use to make electricity are called ENERGY
RESOURCES. Energy can come from burning FOSSIL FUELS such as coal, oil, and
natural gas. Coal, oil, and natural gas are called fossil fuels because they were
formed millions of years ago from dead plants and animals. Many human
activities, including the burning of fossil fuels, cause POLLUTION which is the
escape of harmful substances called POLLUTANTS into the ENVIRONMENT. The
air pollution created when fossil fuels burn does not stay in the air forever.
Instead it can travel great distances, and fall to the ground again as dust or rain.

What is acid rain?


ACID RAIN forms when clean rain comes into contact with pollutants in the air,
like SULPHUR DIOXIDE (SO2), CARBON DIOXIDE (CO2), and NITROGEN OXIDES
(N2O). Although sulphur dioxide and carbon dioxide occur in the air naturally,
burning fossil fuels adds more of these chemicals to the air. When these
pollutants are released into the air, they mix and react with water, oxygen, and
other chemicals to form acid rain. Acid rain then falls to the Earth where it can
damage plants, animals, soil, water, and building materials.

Acid rain does not burn and cannot directly harm people. However if acid rain
pollutants mix with other pollutants in the air they can form PARTICULATE
MATTER and ground level OZONE, which can sometimes make people sick.
Although the planet needs an OZONE LAYER for protection from the sun’s
harmful ultraviolet rays, ozone can be dangerous when it forms low to the ground
because it hurts our lungs and sometimes makes it difficult to breathe.

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What is acidity?
ACIDIC and BASIC are two extremes that describe chemicals, just as hot and cold
are two extremes that describe temperature. Mixing ACIDS and BASES can cancel
out their extreme effects; much like mixing hot and cold water can even out the
water temperature. A substance that is neither is NEUTRAL. The pH SCALE
measures the acidic or basic level of a substance. The pH scale ranges from 0 to
14. A pH of 7 is neutral, while a pH less than 7 is acidic and a pH greater than 7 is
basic.

Putting it all together:


Acid rain is rain that is more acidic than it should be. Acid rain is a complicated
problem affecting soil and water, as well as the life cycles of plants and animals on
land and in the water.

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Experiment 2:
Sulphur Dioxide: A pollutant in Acid Rain

Aim: To demonstrate how Sulphur Dioxide, a pollutant from fossil fuel burning, can
cause the formation of acid rain and therefore an acidic aquatic environment.

This activity requires a fume hood, saftey glasses, gloves and a lab coat

Materials: Method:

 Premade 60mL of sulphur 1. Obtain two well plates and join them together.
dioxide in a plastic syringe 2. Fill three quaters of the well plates with univeral
 Blue tack indicator making sure the wells are all filled up right
 2x plastic well plates with 6 to the top with a little buldge. To do this without
compartments spilling use a pippete.
 Plastic Bag (zip lock) 3. To the remaining universal indicator add 0.1 grams
 Universal Indicator solution of sodium bicarbonate.
 Pipette 4. Fill the remaining wells with this solution.
 O.1g sodium bicarbonate 5. Using straws or plastic sticks create a frame which
will hold up the plastic bag (The plastic bag needs to
 Straws or plastic sticks
be upright as to not fall on the wells).
6. Place the well plates in the plastic bag.
7. Place the pre-made 60mL of sulphur dioxide in a
plastic syringe in the plastic bag. (The syringe should
be capped with a piece of blue tack to prevent
anything leaking out of the syringe).
8. Zip the plastic bag close.
9. Remove the blu tack from the syringe and discharge
the gas into the bag.

What you have created here is an ECOSYSTEM enclosed in a plastic bag. By diffusing the
sulphur dioxide gas into this ecosystem some of the ‘lakes’ or wells will turn acidic. The
quarter of lakes with the sodium bicarbonate are acting like BUFFERS which slow down the
effect of the sulphur dioxide on the indicator.

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Questions
16. The term used for non man made sources is ______________

17. Natural resources that humans use to make electricity are called __________

18. Energy can come from burning _____________ such as coal, oil, and natural gas.

19. Many human activities, including the burning of fossil fuels, cause ________

which is the escape of harmful substances called ____________ into the

____________.

20. What three polutants cause acid rain?

21. In one sentence, can you explain what acid rain is?

22. When acid rain falls to the earth what can it damage?

23. What is the pH scale? (draw a picture to help)

24. Would a pH level of 2 be more acidic or more basic?

25. What pH level would a neutral substance be?

26. Can you think of any substancesaround your house which would be acidic or

basic?

27. Can you draw the acid rain cycle?

28. Can you draw the reglar rain cycle?

29. What is the chemical symbol for Carbon dioxide? Where else have you heard of

Carbon Dioxide?

30. Can acid rain effect humans? Directly or indirectly?

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Question Answers
1. The term used for non man made sources is NATURAL RESOURCES.
2. Natural resources that humans use to make electricity are called ENERGY
RESOURCES.
3. Energy can come from burning FOSSIL FUELS such as coal, oil, and natural gas.
4. Many human activities, including the burning of fossil fuels, cause POLLUTION
which is the escape of harmful substances called POLLUTANTS into the
ENVIRONMENT.
5. What three polutants cause acid rain?
The three pollutants which contribute to acid rain are Sulphur Dioxide, Carbon
Dioxide and Nitrogen Oxides.
6. In one sentence, can you explain what acid rain is?
Acid rain is rain which has become more acidic than it usually would be with a pH
level of 5 or less.
7. When acid rain falls to the earth what can it damage?
Acid rain then falls to the Earth where it can damage plants, animals, soil, water,
and building materials.
8. What is the pH scale? (draw a picture to help)
The pH scale is a scale from 0-14 which ranks the acidity level of substances. A pH
of 7 is neutral and 14 is extremely basic and 0 is extremely acidic.
9. Would a pH level of 2 be more acidic or more basic?
A pH level of two would be an acidic substance such as lemon juice.
10. What pH level would a neutral substance be?
A neutral substance has a pH of 7. Water is a neutral substance.
11. Can you think of any substances around your house which would be acidic or
basic?
Students will have varying answers.
12. Can you draw the acid rain cycle?

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13. Can you draw the regular rain cycle?

14. What is the chemical symbol for Carbon dioxide? Where else have you heard of
Carbon Dioxide?
The chemical symbol for carbon dioxide is CO2. Students should mention that we
breathe out CO2 when we exhale.
15. Can acid rain effect humans? Directly or indirectly?
Acid rain does not burn and cannot directly harm people. However if acid rain
pollutants mix with other pollutants in the air they can form particulate matter
and ground level ozone, which can sometimes make people sick. Although the
planet needs an ozone layer for protection from the sun’s harmful ultraviolet
rays, ozone can be dangerous when it forms low to the ground because it hurts
our lungs and sometimes makes it difficult to breathe.

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The Greenhouse Effect
Background Information for the Teacher

Our Atmosphere:
Air is made up of different gases and the amount or composition of these gases changes
over the course of a year due to the earths position. Ninety nine percent of the gas in the air
is Nitrogen and Oxygen which are represented by the chemical symbols N2 and O2
respectively. The other 1% of air is made of the inert gas Argon (0.93%). Carbon dioxide
accounts for only 0.037% of the gas in the air however this gas contributes significantly to
the earths weather where as nitrogen and oxyen do not. Co2 is important for this reason
because it can absorn and then emitt energy.

The layers of the atmosphere The percentages of gases


and the distance from earth’s found the earth’s air.
sea level surface in km’s

The Earth is surrounded by layers of gases which are called the 'atmosphere’. The diagram
below illustrates the four layers of the atmosphere. The Troposphere is the layer of the
atmosphere which we are in. One characteristic of this layer is that the further away you are
from the surface the colder it gets (it is colder high up on a mountain than it is at sea level).
The next layer is called the Stratosphere; it is in this layer that the ozone layer resides. The
sun is much hotter than the Earth and it gives off rays of heat (radiation) that travel through

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the atmosphere and reach the Earth. The temperature stays constant in this layer until the
20 km mark and it the increases until it reaches the Stratopause (the layer in-between the
Troposphere and the Stratosphere) which is 50km away from earth’s surface. The increase
in temperature in this layer is due to ozone molecules (0 3) as these molecules absorb UV
radiation. The third layer is called the Mesosphere, similarly to the Troposphere the
temperature decreases on the way up and it keeps decreasing until the 80km mark where
the temperature is approximatley minus 90 degrees celcius. The final layer is called the
Thermosphere and contiues right out into space so there is no definite endpoint of this
layer. A very minimal portion of the atmospheres mass resides in this layer , however what
is there aborbs high evergy solar radiation and there fore the temperature increases on the
way up as it is getting closer to the sun.

This diagram shows the four layers of the atmosphere: The Troposphere,
Stratosphere, Mesosphere and the Thermosphere. It also shows the pauses in-
between each layer where one begins and the next starts: the Tropopause,
Stratopause and Mesopause. The yellow line represents the temperature of that
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atmospheric layer with a scale on the x-axis marking the temperature and the Y-
axis representing how far way the earth’s surface is from that layer.
This diagram shows the four layers of the atmosphere and what can be present in
these layers: The Troposphere, Stratosphere, Mesosphere and the
Thermosphere. The ozone layer is found in the Stratosphere.

The Greenhouse Effect:

The rays of the sun warm the Earth, and heat from the Earth then travels back into the
atmosphere. The gases in the atmosphere stop some of the heat from escaping into space.
These gases are called greenhouse gases and the natural process between the sun, the
atmosphere and the Earth is called the 'Greenhouse Effect', because it works the same way
as a greenhouse. The windows of a greenhouse play the same role as the gases in the
atmosphere, keeping some of the heat inside the greenhouse. The table below summarises
natural greenhouse gases.

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So we know that the greenhouse effect is a natural occurring process to keep our planet at
the correct temperature in order to sustain life, however since the industrial revolution
began we have seen an increase in the amount of greenhouse gasses being produced. We
call this the Enhanced Greenhouse Effect. This indicates that there are more and more
greenhouse gases in the atmosphere and more heat is trapped which is making the Earth
warmer. This is known as GLOBAL WARMING.

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The Natural Greenhouse Effect compared to the Enhanced Greenhouse Effect

Energy, Heat and Temperature:

Kinetic energy is a form of energy which has motion. Atoms and molecules have kinetic
energy and are therefore in motion. Heat/thermal energy is a type of kinetic energy. When
something is heated its atoms move faster which increases the heat content. Heat intensity
is temperature.

Heat moves around in three ways:


 Conduction- the transfer of heat through matter
 Convection- Heat is transferred due to the circulation of a mass within a substance.
 Radiation- Heat does not need a medium to travel and it travels in wavelengths.

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Background Information for Students

The Earth is wrapped in a blanket of air called the 'atmosphere',


which is made up of several layers of gases. The layers all have
different names (refer to the picture on the right for the
names). The sun is much hotter than the Earth and it gives off
rays of heat (radiation) that travel through the atmosphere and
reach the Earth. The rays of the sun warm the Earth, and heat
from the Earth then travels back into the atmosphere. The
gases in the atmosphere stop some of the heat from escaping
into space. These gases are called greenhouse gases and the
natural process between the sun, the atmosphere and the
Earth is called the GREENHOUSE EFFECT, because it works the
same way as a greenhouse. The windows of a greenhouse play
the same role as the gases in the atmosphere, keeping some of
the heat inside the greenhouse.

There is an increase in the production of greenhouse gases occurring due to


manmade pollution from industry, CFC’s and the burning of fossil fuels .

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The Natural Geenhouse Effect

The atmosphere has a number of gases, often in tiny amounts, which trap the heat
given out by the Earth. To make sure that the Earth's temperature remains constant,
the balance of these gases in the atmosphere must not be upset.

The Ehanced Greenhouse Effect

Some of the activities of man also produce greenhouse gases. These gases keep
increasing in the atmosphere. The balance of the greenhouse gases changes and this
has effects on the whole of the planet. Burning fossil fuels - coal, oil and natural gas -
releases carbon dioxide into the atmosphere. Cutting down and burning trees also
produces a lot of carbon dioxide. A group of greenhouse gases called the CFC’s have
been used in aerosols, such as hairspray cans, fridges and in making foam plastics.
They are found in small amounts in the atmosphere. They are dangerous greenhouse
gases because small amounts can trap large amounts of heat. Because there are
more and more greenhouse gases in the atmosphere, more heat is trapped which
makes the Earth warmer. This is known as GLOBAL WARMING.

Global warming will affect the following:

 The weather & the seasons


 Farming
 Sea Levels
 Water
 Plants & Animals

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Experiment 3: Convection & Inversion

Aim: To demonstrate how convection is a method which transfers heat due to the circulation
of a mass within a substance.

Materials: Cardboard Box, Sticky Tape, Acetate plastic sheeting, Ruler, x2 paper tubes, Pencil,
Candle, Plasticine, Matches, Paper towel, Ice, Heat Lamp, Paper, Elastic Band, Scissors.

Method:

1. Obtain a cardbox box. A shoe box will do, however the lid must be properly sealed to
the box so no air can enter or escape the box.
2. Cut out a large window with safety knife on one side of the box.
3. Cover the window with plastic and seal with tape.
4. Using a ruler, measure the length of the box’s top and pencil in a dot ¼ from both sides
of the box’s end.
5. Obtin two identical paper tubes and use them to draw circes around the dots. Cut the
circles out and insert the tubes. Tape them in position. You shoul dnow have a box with
two chimneys.
6. Stick a candle into a blob of plasticine and place it under one of the chimneys. Seal the
window and light the candle using a long match or affixing a match to a pencil. Let the
box heat for 5 minutes.
7. Now twist a piece of paper towel, light it up and allow it to burn for a few seconds.
Quickly blow out the flame and hold the now smoking paperover the second chimney.
What has happened?
Above the smoke (which is warm) is colder, heavier air. This colder air will push the
smoke down the chimney. The smoke down in the box will be warmed up and will then
rise towards the candle and exit the box via the other chimney.
8. Blow out the candle and obtain 4 ice cubes and place two down each chimney. Allow
the box to cool for 5 minutes.
9. While the box is cooling place a heat lamp directly over one of the chimneys.
10. Obtain additional paper towel, twist is agan and light it again. Burn one end for 10
seconds, blow it out and then drop the smoking towel down the second chimney.
11. Quickly cover the chimney with paper and a few turns of an elastic band.
You’ll notice that a temperature inversion prevents normal convection from taking
place. The warmer air mass travels over the cooler ground air and traps the cooler air.
12. Remove the paper from the second chimney (cooler) and observe the escaping smoke.

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Questions
1. What do we call the blanket of air that surrounds the earth?

2. What are the four layers of the atmosphere called?

3. Which atmospheric layer do humans live in (which one is closest to the earth)?

4. What is a gas? (give a definition)

5. What gases make up the air around us?

6. What are greenhouse gasses?

7. What are the names of some common greenhouse gasses?

8. What is the natural greenhouse effect?

9. What is the enhanced green house effect?

10. In which atmospheric layer do you find the ozone layer?

11. What is the Ozone layer?

12. Which method of heat travelling did you observe in the experimet?

13. What other ways does heat travel? List them and exmplain what they are.

14. Explain what happened in step 7 of the experiment?

15. Explain one effect of global warming.

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Question Answers
1. What do we call the blanket of air that surrounds the earth?
The blanket of air that surrounds the earth is called the atmosphere.
2. What are the four layers of the atmosphere called?
The four layers of the atmosphere are the Troposphere, Stratosphere,
Mesosphere and the Thermosphere.
3. Which atmospheric layer do humans live in (which one is closest to the earth)?
The Troposphere is closest to the earth.
4. What is a gas? (give a definition)
Gases are random groups of atoms. In solids, atoms and molecules are compact
and close together. Liquids have atoms a little more spread out. However, gases
are really spread out and the atoms and molecules are full of energy. They are
bouncing around constantly.
5. What gases make up the air around us?
Students should refer to the pie chart picture.
The gases in the air around us a primarily made up of Oxygen & Nitrogen, with
small amounts of Argon and Carbon Dioxide.
6. What are greenhouse gasses?
Gases that occur naturally in the Earth’s atmosphere and trap heat to keep the
planet warm. Some human actions, like the burning of fossil fuels, also produce
greenhouse gases.
7. What are the names of some common greenhouse gasses?
Some examples are carbon dioxide, water vapour, methane, hydrofluorocarbons,
nitrous oxide and ozone.
8. What is the natural greenhouse effect?

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9. What is the enhanced green house effect?

10. In which atmospheric layer do you find the ozone layer?


The Ozone layer is in the lower portion of the Stratosphere.
11. What is the Ozone layer? What is the hole in the ozone layer?
The ozone layer is a layer in Earths atmosphere which contains high levels of
Ozone. This ozone abosorbs approximatley 98% of the ultraviolet light from the
sun which can be damaging to life on earth. The hole in the ozone layer is
aproblem because the bigger the hole gets the more UV light gets through. This
is heating up our planet resulting in global warming.
12. In the experiment you observed a way in which heat travels. What way did you
observe heat travelling?
Heat travelled via convection which is when heated molecules move from one
area to another, taking the heat with them. Convection is common in both the
atmosphere and the ocean.
13. What other ways does heat travel? List them and exmplain what they are.
 Conduction is when heat is transferred from one object to another or from one
molecule to another. As one molecule is heated it begins to move and shake
rapidly. As it does so, it passes some of its heat energy to other molecules around
it. Through this process, all the molecules of an object pass heat from one to
another until they are all hot.
 Radiation: All objects radiate heat and energy. The radiation coming from hotter
objects is more intense than that coming from cooler objects. Radiation leaves an

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object in the form of waves. The hotter an object, the shorter the wavelength of
this radiation.
14. Explain what happened in step 7 of the experiment?
Above the smoke (which is warm) is colder, heavier air. This colder air will push
the smoke down the chimney. The smoke down in the box will be warmed up
and will then rise towards the candle and exit the box via the other chimney.
15. Explain one negative effect of global warming.
It has taken million of years for life to become used to the conditions on Earth. As
weather and temperature changes, the homes of plants and animals will be
affected all over the world. For example, polar bears and seals, will have to find
new land for hunting and living, if the ice in the Arctic melts. Many animals and
plants may not be able to cope with these changes and could die. This could
cause the loss of some animal and plant species in certain areas of the world or
everywhere on Earth.

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Worksheet:

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Word Find:

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Word Find Answers:

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Crossword:

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Glossary:
Acid: Any of a large group of chemicals with a pH less than 7. Examples are battery acid,
lemon juice, and vinegar.

Acidic: Describes a substance with a pH less than 7.

Acid Rain: Rain that has become acidic by contact with air pollution. Other forms of
precipitation, such as snow and fog, are also often included in the term acid rain or acid wet
deposition.

Base: Any of a large group of chemicals with a pH greater than 7. Examples are ammonia
and baking soda.

Basic: Describes a substance with a pH greater than 7. Another word for basic is alkaline.

Carbon Dioxide: (CO2) A naturally occurring gas made of carbon and oxygen. Sources of
carbon dioxide in the atmosphere include animals, which exhale carbon dioxide, and the
burning of fossil fuels and biomass.

Convection: takes place when heated molecules move from one area to another, taking the
heat with them. Convection is common in both the atmosphere and the ocean.

Conduction: heat is transferred from one object to another or from one molecule to
another. As one molecule is heated it begins to move and shake rapidly. As it does so, it
passes some of its heat energy to other molecules around it. Through this process, all the
molecules of an object pass heat from one to another until they are all hot.

Deposition: When chemicals like acids or bases fall to the Earth’s surface. Deposition can be
wet (rain, sleet, snow, fog) or dry (gases, particles).

Emissions: The gases that are released when fossil fuels are burned.

Energy Resources Natural resources that can be used to make heat, electricity, or any other
form of energy. The most commonly used energy resources are fossil fuels (coal, oil, and
gas), but the sun, wind, and anything else that makes energy are also energy resources.

Environment: The air, water, soil, minerals, organisms, and all other factors surrounding and
affecting an organism.

Fossil Fuels: Oil, natural gas, and coal. Fossil fuels were made in nature from ancient plants
and animals, and today we burn them to make energy.

Greenhouse Gases: Gases that occur naturally in the Earth’s atmosphere and trap heat to
keep the planet warm. Some examples are carbon dioxide, water vapour, halogenated

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fluorocarbons, methane, hydro fluorocarbons, nitrous oxide, perfluoronated carbons, and
ozone. Some human actions, like the burning of fossil fuels, also produce greenhouse gases.

Natural Resources: All the parts of the Earth that are not human-made and which people
use, like fish, trees, minerals, lakes, or rivers.

Neutral: A substance that is neither an acid nor a base and has a pH of 7. Neutral substances
can be created by combining acids and bases.

Nitrogen Oxides: (N2O) A family of gases made up of nitrogen and oxygen commonly
released by burning fossil fuels.

Ozone: A chemical that is made of three oxygen atoms joined together, and found in the
Earth’s atmosphere. There are two kinds of ozone: good ozone, and bad ozone. Good ozone
is found high in the Earth’s atmosphere, and prevents the sun’s harmful rays from reaching
the Earth. Bad ozone is found low to the ground, and can be harmful to animals and humans
because it damages our lungs, sometimes making it difficult to breathe.

Ozone Layer: The layer of ozone that shields the Earth from the sun’s harmful rays.

pH Scale: The range of units that indicate whether a substance is acidic, basic, or neutral.
The pH scale ranges from 0 to 14.

Particulate Matter: Tiny solid particles or liquid droplets suspended in the air.

Pollutants: Chemicals or other substances that are harmful to or unwanted in the


environment. Some examples of pollutants are sulphur dioxide (SO2), nitrogen oxides
(N2O), ozone, and particulate matter.

Pollution: The release of harmful substances into the environment.

Radiation: All objects radiate heat and energy. The radiation coming from hotter objects is
more intense than that coming from cooler objects. Radiation leaves an object in the form
of waves. The hotter an object, the shorter the wavelength of this radiation.

Reactive: Having the tendency to chemically combine with something else and change its
form. For example, a strong acid is highly reactive with a strong base.

Sulphur Dioxide: (SO2) A naturally occurring gas made of sulphur and oxygen that is also
released when fossil fuels are burned.

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Resources:
 Community Science lecture notes

 Community Science Lab: Gases- Gas Laws

 Community Science Lab: Acid Rain

 Community Science Lab: Our Atmosphere

 Acid Rain sample resource guide

 http://www.chem4kids.com/files/matter_gas.html

 http://www.coralcoe.org.au/research/simonpng/EEPL_1_acidrain.pdf

 http://www.grc.nasa.gov/WWW/K-12/airplane/aboyle.html

 http://library.thinkquest.org/12596/charles.html

 http://www.molecularsoft.com/help/Gas_Laws-Avogadro.htm

 http://www.teachers.ash.org.au/jmresources/climate/change.htm

 http://www.clean-air-kids.org.uk/globalwarming.html

 http://puzzle-maker.com/WS/index.htm

 http://www.crosswordpuzzlegames.com/create.html

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