Atmosphere and Gases is one of our most popular activities we offer at AstroCamp! Gases (including the atmosphere around us) can serve as a great vehicle to explore a variety of scientific concepts in exciting and novel ways. This activity is full of science supplies that create an experience you can’t find in most school classrooms, or create at home.
For starters, campers can see the characteristics of air around us using a vacuum chamber. Turning on the vacuum chamber sucks out air, which creates less air pressure. Explore the effect of decreasing pressure by putting objects like balloons, water, and marshmallows in the vacuum chamber. Explore a gas we’re around every day: carbon dioxide. But, instead of a gas, students will interact with its solid state of matter, also known as dry ice. States of matter can be connected to temperature, as campers get up close to dry ice in a safe environment. See what carbon dioxide smells like and connect it to carbonation! Talk about phase transitions, and using sublimating dry ice in water is a great chance to see density in action.
And things can get even cooler than dry ice! Use liquid nitrogen to super-cool objects like pennies or balloons, eat chips, or even talk about flow rate. The last leg of Atmosphere and Gases guides campers through an experiment, discovering properties of gases like hydrogen and helium. Witness the flammable nature of hydrogen first hand!
Atmosphere and Gases is a valuable chance to interact with the world and make a connection to concepts they’ll see everyday, in a dramatic and memorable format that they’ll carry with them. Atmosphere and Gases is a favorite that we love offering during both school year and summer.