The purpose of this worksheet is to help students understand that even though carbon dioxide is a "trace gas" in the atmosphere, there are still many molecules of it present, even in a small space like a water bottle.
This worksheet addresses the question, "How many molecules of carbon dioxide are in a one-liter bottle of air at standard pressure and temperature?"
Teaching Tips
Positives
The single calculation in this activity helps students visualize and conceptualize the amount of carbon dioxide molecules present in a given space.
Students use real data from the Mauna Loa Observatory to discover carbon dioxide concentrations in the atmosphere and they apply that information to answer the questions.
Additional Prerequisites
Students should be familiar with the Ideal Gas Law.
Students should be able to solve equations and complete conversions with multiple fractions.
Students should be able to plug variables into equations and calculate unknowns using multiplication, division, addition, and subtraction.
Differentiation
Consider having students work in pairs if they are intimidated by solving the equation.
Bring in a bottle for display. Have students make predictions about the amount of carbon dioxide in the bottle before completing the worksheet.
This experiment from the same organization can be used in combination with this calculation worksheet to help students understand the warming effects of carbon dioxide.
This resource has students calculate the number of carbon dioxide molecules in a 2-liter bottle. The calculations and conversions are well-presented and explained. As such, this resource is recommended for teaching.
Standards
Mathematics
Algebraic Reasoning: Expressions and Equations (6-12)
6.AEE.B.4 Understand solving an equation or inequality as a process of answering which values from a specified set, if any, make the equation or inequality true. Use substitution to determine which number(s) in a given set make an equation or inequality true.
7.AEE.B.4 Use variables to represent quantities and construct one- and two-step linear inequalities with positive rational numbers to solve authentic problems by reasoning about the quantities.
HS.AEE.A.3 Rearrange formulas and equations to highlight a specific quantity.
Science
ESS2: Earth's Systems
HS.ESS2.6 Develop a quantitative model to describe the cycling of carbon among the hydrosphere, atmosphere, geosphere, and biosphere.
ESS3: Earth and Human Activity
6.ESS3.5 Ask clarifying questions based on evidence about the factors that have caused climate change over the past century.
PS1: Matter and Its Interactions
HS.PS1.5 Apply scientific principles and evidence to provide an explanation about the effects of changing the temperature or concentration of the reacting particles on the rate at which a reaction occurs.