Week 13: Air
Weeks 13, 14, and 15 make up a three-week cycle about air. Currently, you are in Week A: Teacher As Researcher. 

This week you should refer to the resources listed under Readings & References, and you need to complete the assignments listed under Assignments & Rubrics. This week’s assignments focus on…


  • Doing an activity with your students
    • Air Is Something Special and It is Real
    • Wind Effects
    • Evaporation and Condensation Connect People to the Hydrosphere
    • Cloud Observations
    • Weather and Ocean Moving
  • Posting reflections about what students learned from the activity.
  • Responding to teammates' reflections.
  • Suggesting criteria for effective concept-building activities.


  • Developing criteria for effective concept-building activities and the learning and teaching strategies that make them work.

Readings & References
Read: The earth's atmosphere could be described as the "lungs" of the living earth. All living organisms require and exchange atmospheric gasses to sustain life. A large part of the basic food for life on Earth (CO2 for photosynthesis) is obtained from the atmosphere and the waste product is O2 that supports combustion (respiration) that provides the energy of life. Thus, the living organisms of Earth actually help create the composition of the atmosphere. In turn, the atmosphere helps to regulate the earth's temperature so that it is appropriate for life.

The atmosphere is directly connected to the hydrosphere through evaporation and condensation and provides an envelope with air pressure that keeps water in a liquid form. The atmosphere directly shapes the land through the force of wind and has the biggest impact as a carrier of water to the land which, in turn, shapes the land. The atmosphere produces the weather, which is often very predictable as well as unpredictable. The important water cycle is a requirement for a living Earth.

Understanding the atmosphere presents a major challenge for K-4 students. At this age level the ability to develop an understanding of that which the students cannot see is very difficult. Some curriculum developers suggest that the gaseous state of matter should not be explored until at least fourth grade or later. Other developers feel that some explorations are appropriate and essential. Explorations of liquids (especially water) are probably the best model for beginning to understand gasses since both are fluids. Most developers agree that at least some reference to gaseous matter is necessary in order to explore ideas such as weather and evaporation.

Recommended Web Site:

Assignments & Rubrics
You will work individually and in teams to address air during this three-week cycle. When doing this week's assignments, think about some possible answers to the essential questions below about air.   

  • How do you study air?
  • How does air change?
  • What causes air to change?
  • How does water exist in air?
  • How does air help living things?
  • How do you know about weather?

Use the links below to access the assignments and rubrics.

Week A: Teacher As Researcher - Individual
Classroom Action Research Assignment & Rubric
You will do an activity with your students, reflect on the provided questions, reply to your teammates' reflections, and suggest criteria for effective concept-building activities. 

Week 13 Air Activities

Week A: Teacher As Researcher - Team
Criteria-Building Assignment & Rubric
You and your teammates will develop and agree on criteria for effective concept-building activities.

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