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## Author

Paleontological Research Institution

6th, 7th, 8th, 9th, 10th, 11th, 12th

## Subjects

Science, Chemistry, Earth and Space Sciences, Mathematics

• Worksheet

Global

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# Climate Change Toolkit: How Many Molecules Make a Trace Gas?

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Synopsis
• 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.

• 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.
• Additional resources to pair with the lesson are A More Accurate Way to Calculate Emissions and What are Carbon Emissions? (Green Transportation #1).
Scientist Notes
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.
• Related Resources