ABOUT THE UNDERSTANDING AIR LESSON
This lesson is appropriate for children ages 11 and up. Understanding Air emphasizes the molecular composition of air. Using LEGO® bricks as atoms, the students build a model of air and then combust fuel models to produce additional carbon dioxide and air pollutants.
TEACHING THE UNDERSTANDING AIR LESSON
Lesson Plans and Teacher Guide on WGBH and PBS Learning Media:
- Part 1: Understanding Air: Climate Change and Modeling Combustion with LEGO Bricks
- Part 2. Understanding Air: Air Pollution and Modeling Pollutants with LEGO Bricks
MOLECULE SET MATERIALS
You can make your own Molecule Sets by visiting our webpage: Information for Edgerton Center Molecule Sets. We are no longer able to sell Molecule Sets, unfortunately.
The following LEGO bricks are the minimum required (per kit/2 students) for the Understanding Air Lesson:
- 20 blue 2x4 bricks
- 12 red 2x4 bricks
- 10 black 2x4 bricks
- 20 white 1x2 bricks
NOTE: "2x4" and "1x2" refer to the number of bumps on top of the LEGO bricks.
Understanding Air Mats (per kit/2 students):
- Atom Key/Layout Mats
- What Is Air Made Of Mat
- Burning Fuel: Complete Combustion Mat
- Burning Fuel: Incomplete Combustion Mat
- Air Chemistry and Pollution Mat
- Air Chemistry and Pollution Reactions Mat
NOTE: Another mat about air pollution from volcanic eruptions, or "vog," can be found in Various Additional Mats.
- Understanding Air Student Pages 1-7
- Understanding Air Teacher Key 1-7
- Understanding Air Student Pages 1-4
- Understanding Air Teacher Key-1-4
*NOTE: Use this version if your students have already been introduced to the concepts of elements, compounds, and mixtures and physical and chemical change in one of the other Molecule Set lessons (Chemical Reactions, Photosynthesis, etc).
5. Recognize that there are more than 100 elements that combine in a multitude of ways to produce compounds that make up all of the living and nonliving things that we encounter.
6. Differentiate between an atom (the smallest unit of an element that maintains the characteristics of that element) and a molecule (the smallest unit of a compound that maintains the characteristics of that compound).
7. Give basic examples of elements and compounds.
8. Differentiate between mixtures and pure substances.
Central Concepts: Energy resources are used to sustain human civilization. The amount and accessibility of these resources influence their use and their impact on the environment. 2.1 Recognize, describe, and compare renewable energy resources (e.g., solar, wind, water, biomass) and nonrenewable energy resources (e.g., fossil fuels, nuclear energy).
2.2 Describe the effects on the environment.
LEGO®, the LEGO logo, and the brick and knob configurations are trademarks of the LEGO group, used here with permission. ©MIT. All rights reserved.