Resource 1: An introductory ‘air’ lesson

Teacher resource for planning or adapting to use with pupils

Note: Plan to start the double period/one-hour lesson just after a break, but do the introduction just before break.

Begin by giving one pupil a bucket and asking them to go outside to fetch you half a bucket of water. Then give another pupil a large clear plastic bag and ask them (you might want to pick a pupil who can take a joke) to go outside to fetch you half a plastic bag of air. This will surely cause a brief moment of puzzlement as it is of course a bit of a joke – but it proves a point – ‘air is all around us’. Insist that the air is fetched from outside. Then hand out three or four more clear plastic bags with which to catch air from:

  • under a desk;
  • in the far corner;
  • by the window;
  • from one pupil’s own lungs.

Emphasise to your pupils that air is all around us.

Divide the class into eight groups. Each group should choose a leader. Explain that when they come back after the break, they will take turns to work for ten minutes at each of four workstations to find out some more about air. This is called rotating group work.

During break time, set out the workstations with the necessary equipment, and a copy of the workcard for each station. Work cards are set out in Resource 2: Air experiments.

You could get the eight group leaders to help you do this so that they have been prepared for leadership roles in what is to come.

Then it is over to the groups to do the work. At the end of the lesson, ask pupils to summarise what they had to think about and what they feel they learned at each workstation.

3. Using models to explain scientific ideas

Resource 2: Air experiments