Without you I can’t breathe

Scenario information

Subject: Chemistry

Grade: 7th grade, elementary school
Level of implementation complexity: medium
Correlations and interdisciplinarity:

  • Biology
  • Physics
  • Mathematics
  • Geography
  • Informatics
  • English language
  • Geophysics
  • Meteorology
  • Health education
  • Civil education

Find tips and instructions for using digital teaching tools at e-Laboratory. (in Croatian language)

Key Words: atmosphere, nitrogen, physical properties of air, air density, oxygen, air polution, air pressure, carbon dioxide, air

Learning Outcomes:

  • specify the chemical composition of air (A)
  • describe the physical properties of air (A, B, C)
  • describe how air pressure changes depending on altitude (C)
  • indicate the factors affecting air quality (D)

*In parentheses, there are letters indicating the teaching scenario activities, and their implementation contributes to achieving the respective outcomes.

Activity Description

A Dry Paper on the Bottom of the Sea

For students, the air is a relatively familiar subject so start the activity with an experiment to link Physics and Chemistry. The following experiment can provide your students with proof of the following hypothesis: Air occupies space and air has mass. You can find the experiment video at source 1 and share it with students on Edmodo. Do not give any additional explanation to the students before watching the experiment video, but ask them to think about and independently make a few conclusions related to the viewed experiment. After watching the video, students can perform the experiment themselves. Using the TodaysMeet digital discussion tool, encourage students to discuss their opinion on the experiment. Continue the discussion on air and air composition in class. Display the volume share of air components by using graphical tools of the MS Office suite (Microsoft Excel, pie charts). It is desirable to compare the composition of today’s and the prehistoric atmosphere, and thus revise the information learnt in biology classes at the beginning of the seventh grade related to the emergence and development of life on Earth. Today, life on another planet can only be seen in science fiction films. But in the future, scientists plan and prepare conditions for creating a human colony on Mars. Talk to the students which conditions have to be met for life to be sustained. Volunteers applied for this adventure. Discuss with students the soundness of the decision to use people in scientific research, since the future outcome of this project is unknown.

Support Procedures

When working with all students in the class using the pedagogical method of brainstorming, the teacher can incite students to examine their knowledge of the given subject, more specifically the students with disabilities can be incited by asking guiding questions, students with intellectual disabilities and students with the disorder of the autism spectrum by a picture template. Linking chemistry and biology within air facts is good for all students. After watching the air properties video, students with disabilities should be given a summary accompanied by an image, especially because the demonstrator speaks English. In the discussion activity related to the link, all activities that are being carried out for the first time must be implemented in such a way that students with disabilities (vision impairment, hearing impairment, intellectual disabilities, autism spectrum disorders, dyslexia etc.) go through all the stages of the activity together with the chemistry teacher.It is necessary to outline the activity, preferably as an image. When using the suggested links, it is good that students pair up with a student who is an independent user when doing some tasks.

B Flight into the Unknown

Divide students into groups and give them an assignment of designing a hot air balloon ride. The groups will present their “imaginary trips” to their peers in a presentation developed in Prezi. Naturally, before starting a hot air balloon flight, students need to independently explore and explain the principle behind hot air balloon flying as well as the method of heating the air by using their knowledge from Physics. Warn them to define the precautions to be taken by the passengers in the balloon. When explaining, they can perform an experiment to compare the density of hot and cold air.

To perform the experiment, prepare the following chemistry equipment and chemicals: Erlenmeyer flask, a balloon, a glass of hot water, a glass of cold water.

Procedure description: Place a balloon on the neck of the Erlenmeyer flask. Pour hot water in one big glass, and cold water in the other big glass. Immerge the flask with the balloon into hot water and describe the changes. After that, immerge the flask with a balloon into cold water and describe the changes. Compare the volume and density of hot and cold air. Inform the students that a balloon license is required to fly a balloon in Croatia and it can be obtained in accordance with a special Ordinance. Students who want to know more on this topic may find information on the conditions for obtaining a license at source 2 (Croatian Ordinance on Professional Training, Examinations, Licenses, and Authorizations of Balloon Pilots). Students can use Google Maps to plan the travel route. Set the school address as the starting point, and a place with local historical and cultural sights as the destination. By using the options of Google Maps, students can determine the distance from the starting point to the destination. In their presentation, they can also include photographs of historical and cultural sights which can be seen on the trip, as well as some interesting information, such as who the balloon pioneers in our region were, the height and distance a balloon can reach today, and the ranking of Croatian balloon pilots in the fierce world competition.

Support Procedures

The assignment focusing on the experiment of comparing the hot and cold air density, developing a presentation in Prezi or using new links to obtain a virtual balloon license should be planned and executed within the predicted duration by introducing pauses required by a student with difficulties due to remedial attention, faster fatigue etc. (especially for students with motor disabilities,attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder and autism spectrum disorders). It is best for students to work in pairs, they should have an abstract accompanied by an image and a conclusion. Commendation in teaching is a very important source of encouragement for students with disabilities, but it is also useful to other students, such as those who are markedly withdrawn and insecure, to those who are more skilled and provide support by working in pairs, small groups.

C Let’s go to the Mountains

In professional sports, unfortunately, we sometimes hear news that is not a feature of sportsmanship. One of
such downsides of sports involves doping – the administration of substances belonging to different groups of pharmacologically active substances, the use of which is not permitted, or the performance of various prohibited practices. It is against ethics in sports and medicine. At the web page of the Croatian Institute for Toxicology and Anti-Doping (CITA) (in Croatian langugae) you can find more information on this topic.

One example of prohibited practices, which aims to enhance sports results, is blood doping. Tell students what is blood doping and give them research questions: Can a sportsman who, for a time, just before the competition, trains at high altitudes be tested positive for blood doping? Explain why he has an advantage over athletes who train at lower altitudes? To address the research questions, refer students to source 4 (Graduate thesis entitled Blood Doping, only abstract is available in English). Prior to completing the assignment, it is recommended to repeat with the students the information related to erythrocyte structure and role – Digital Educational Information, Biology Teachers, Blood at the Nikola Tesla National Distance Learning Portal (a portal containing digital teaching and learning materials in Croatian for students and teachers).

After the students collect useful and interesting information, suggest they create a comic to inform the students about the topic. The comic can be developed in Pixton. Suggest students choose the best, the most successful and the most funny comic among their works.

Organize a lecture for students on the consequences of doping in sports in co-operation with school sports clubs.

Recommend students watch the video (in Croatian language), which is available on the educational portal of the Croatian Radiotelevision, for homework to repeat and revise their knowledge related to the topic of Air and Air Composition. In the next class, play the quiz on the interactive board in Kahoot, which quiz you will independently prepare or use a ready-made quiz on Earth’s Atmosphere and Air Composition (in Croatian language), with students previously divided into groups. To be able to manage the quiz, you must first register at Kahoot.
Note: To refer students to further research, download topics at source 5 (in Croatian language), more information about doping, as well as lists of prohibited agents.

Support Procedures

Pupils with disabilities as well as students with typical development should be involved in accordance with their interests, in individual or group sports. Some follow sports events thanks to the family environment. The article on blood doping should be divided into text units, and the students should be divided into 4-6 groups. By applying the INSERT pedagogic method, students can mark the fragments which confirm what they already know (√) or which refute what they think they know (-), and the fragments which they have questions about (?), which questions will be posed to the teacher after critical reading. Most of the students with disabilities can independently present what they learned by reading, on behalf of the groups, according to a plan or with guidance (e.g. questions or graphic reminders). Images of the comic should be marked with ordinal numbers and, for students with reading disorder and students with autism spectrum disorder, the images should be aligned top-to-bottom.

The topic can be updated by informing the students about the latest news available under the headline “Shock for the Great Jamaican Athlete” (internet news on Usain Bolt and doping).

The news reveals that the Jamaican team was stripped of the gold medal from the 4×100m relay at the Beijing Olympics in 2008 after it was confirmed that the blood of one of the runners, Nesta Carter, tested positive.

When you are planning a quiz, it is important to provide simple, brief and clear instructions related to the quiz assignment and how to participate in the quiz, and to make sure that the students understand them. If there is a complex task in the knowledge quiz (e.g. performing several individual activities and then completing the quiz), divide the activity into stages. Encourage quiz activities by working in pairs or small groups.

B Something Unusual Is in the Air

AirAir pollution today needs to be studied as a global but also as a local problem. Suggest students create a mini-project to explore and assess the greatest air pollutants in their environment. Target students to design and present actions and measures to reduce the impact of some pollutants. Also ask them to explore in their surroundings the consequences of acid rain and smog on plants, buildings and monuments. If they find any changes, have them investigate which substances are the most common causes of these ecological problems today and connect them with the situation in their environment. In addition, have the students explore the consequences that air pollution can have on our health. You can connect to other schools, share research results, and exchange ideas. You can initiate a collaboration with other schools through the eTwinning inter-school portal. You can join an already existing project or propose a new project and cooperate with interested collaborators.

Students can regularly record meteorological data (air temperature, wind direction and speed, air humidity, air pressure) and enter them to the school’s web site in agreement with the administrator. If there is no meteorological station near the school or the school is not included in the GLOBE project (Globe Programme Croatia, available in Croatian language), students can install a weather app on their smartphones, for example application 1. The current meteorological data can also be found on the Meteorological and Hydrological Service web page (in Croatian language). Regular monitoring of meteorological data can be useful during planning of various school activities – outdoor teaching, sports day, activities planned in the school garden etc.

Note: At source 6 (in Croatian language), you can find information on the GLOBE science and education programme and the conditions to be met if the school wants to join the project.

Support Procedures

Most of the students with disabilities (students with impaired vision, impaired hearing, motor disturbances, ADHD) can engage in guided discussions on air pollution according to a plan or with guidance (students with intellectual disabilities, students with autism spectrum disorders). For the purpose of recording and entering observation data, it is necessary to prepare simple tables or graphic organizers. When texts or instructions are found in English on individual links, summaries and step-by-step activities should be prepared in Croatian. When working in pairs or groups, it is important to make students with disabilities active participants in all activities (discussion, recording and entering data, web page usage etc.), and not passive observers in the group.It is important to make the activities meaningful and available to each student in the workgroup and groups should be commended by all means.

For Students Who Want to Know More

When sitting on the quay of a Croatian town on the Adriatic coast, Alfred Hitchcock, a famous American director, wrote that he was watching the most beautiful sunset in the world. Have students explore which city was he referring to and find photos of the described sunset online, Creative Commons. Suggest research topics to the students, for example: Why is the sky blue? Why do we see red during sunrise and sunset? Why are sunsets particularly pronounced over the sea or larger cities? Students can present the results of their research in the form of poster using the Canva, at the school Open Day. You can find additional information on source 8 (text from a scientific news web portal in Croatian that reveals why the sky is blue) or source 9 (professional paper in Croatian on Why and How Do We See Colours?).

Additional literature, content and links

You can find additional clarification of terms on relevant web pages

  • Google Scholar,
  • Struna (Croatian vocational terminology),
  • Croatian Encyclopaedia etc.
  1. Ivančić, Đ., Stančić, Z. (2015): Razlikovni pristup u inkluzivnoj školi (Differential Approach in Inclusive Schools) Ed: Igrić, Lj. et al. Osnove edukacijskoguključivanja. Škola po mjeri svakog djeteta je moguća (Foundations of Educational Inclusion. School Tailored to Each Child’s Needs is Possible; p. 159-203). Zagreb, Faculty of Education and Rehabilitation of the University of Zagreb, Školska knjiga.
  2. Sekušak-Galešev, A., Stančić, Z., Igrić, Lj. (2015): Škola za sve, razvrstavanje učenika i čimbenici poučavanja (School for All, Student Classification and Teaching Factors). Ed: Igrić, Lj. et al. Osnove edukacijskog uključivanja. Škola po mjeri svakog djeteta je moguća (Foundations of Educational Inclusion. School Tailored to Each Child’s Needs is Possible; p. 203-249). Zagreb, Faculty of Education and Rehabilitation of the University of Zagreb, Školska knjiga.
  3. Archives of Industrial Hygiene and Toxicology, Vol.50 No.2 September 1999. Istraživanja onečišćenja zraka (Air pollution investigations), M. Fugaš, V. Vađić, K. Šega, N. Kalinić, J. Hršak, A. ŠišovićNote: All network links were last validated on 28th January 2017.

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This text is licensed under Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International. When using this text, you need to designate the authorship of the work in the following manner: CARNet (2017) e-Schools Teaching Scenario ˝ (enter the title of the teaching scenario) ˝, https://scenariji-poucavanja.e-skole.hr/.