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Gas Laws and how they relate to Scuba Diving. Sheila Christel: Sheilaruns@AOL . COM. Cranston West High School, Cranston RI. Steve Rubenstein: William Tennent High School, Warminster, PA. To be used as a practical introduction to the gas laws . Introduction.

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Gas Laws and how they relate to

Scuba Diving

Sheila Christel: Sheilaruns@AOL. COM

Cranston West High School, Cranston RI

Steve Rubenstein:

William Tennent High School, Warminster, PA

To be used as a practical introduction to the gas laws.



  • These units will cover topics related to Gay Lussac Law,
  • Boyles’ Law and Charles’ Law.
  • They will enhance these traditional units through molecular
  • Simulations.
  • Students will have the opportunity to observe molecules in
  • Motion as opposed to conceptualizing this movement.
  • This simulation applies the practical application of scuba diving
  • To stimulate student interest in the topic.

Intended Audience

This unit is intended for students enrolled in College Prep

Chemistry or higher.

This unit will satisfy many State Standards:

1.Apply concepts of models as a method to predict and understand science

and technology.

2. Assess and apply patterns in science and technology.

3. Analyze scale as a way of relating concepts and ideas to one another by

some measure.

4. Analyze and use the technological design process to solve problems.

5. Apply concepts about the structure and properties of matter.

6. Apply and analyze energy sources and conversions and their relationship

to heat and temperature.

7. Apply the principles of motion and force.


While the unit will take additional time, the visualization of

  • Molecular interactions, the real life application, and the inquiry
  • Approach all justify the use of extra time.
  • Adoption of this unit will provide a clear basis for understanding
  • For all students.
  • This unit will enhance what is presently done in the classroom and
  • Is meant to be hands on though, can be adapted for use as an
  • Instructional tool using a projector.
  • This unit is intended to peak student interest and curiosity leading to
  • a better appreciation of nature.


This introduction could readily be used to introduce the topic

higher level students; both they an higher level students will

respond to the relevant and interesting nature of the material.

If a single computer with linkage to a large format projection

Device is available, the simulations could be used. The

Students would be able to obtain the data from a single

Presentation. Independent research using the web would

Distributing hard copies of the articles; alternative

Assignments would need to be found for the group

Extension research projects using VMDL.


Placement in the Curriculum

This unit fits very nicely into the larger curriculum of the science

Program. It seeks to have students understand nature in a

Fundamental way; through the interaction of atoms and molecules.

Simulations will explain, at the molecular level, what occurs in

Wet labs. This simulation is not meant to replace wet labs.

Students should have prior knowledge of matter, elements,

compounds, phases of matter and metric units.

Since this unit is meant to introduce gas laws, prior experiences

should not be needed to use this simulation successfully.



This introduction could be accomplished in approximately

Days depending on the schedule followed in you school.

Several of the suggested projects could be eliminated to save

Time if that were desired.



  • High School Text
  • astronauts/overview/looking/neemo/youth/gases/nitro
  • _abs/default.asp

Electronic Equipment

  • 200 Mega hertz processor
  • 32 migabites or more is preferrable
  • PC or Mac computer(s)
  • 1 computer with projector and large screen for instructional
  • use only or,
  • 1 computer for every 2-4 students.

Goals and Objectives

  • Students will be able to draw and explain the difference
  • between the molecules of a solid, a liquid and a gas.
  • Students will be able to draw the difference between, a gas
  • dissolved in liquid, at depth, in the ocean vs upon ascent at
  • lower pressure and relate this to biological processes during
  • scuba diving.
  • 3. Students will be able to verbally and in written form, describe
  • the interactions between pressure, temperature and volume of
  • a gas.

Goals and Objectives

4. Students will demonstrate how a gas comes out of solution when

pressure is reduced using a soda bottle.

5. Students will demonstrate a method of collecting air through

water displacement to measure the amount of air in one breath

and use a formula to calculate the working capacity of their lungs.

6. Students will demonstrate their increased knowledge of scuba

diving and its dangers through reading supplementary

materials and reporting on their findings.

7. Students will demonstrate their ability to simulate molecular

motions and interactions through the use of the VMDL program

and use it to make predictions about macroscopic events.



Embedded assessments:

Students will answer a variety of questions as they proceed

through the unit.

Questions range from description and drawings of observations to hypothesis

formation to data analysis. Alternatively, more formal lab write

Up could be required for some sections.

Printed versions of the questions will facilitate their responses.


Homework will include reading and responding to

Questions from their texts, writing up some portions of the lab

Work and written responses to supplementary articles that they will

Obtain from the internet.


Extensions of Learning

Students will be demonstrate their understanding of the effects of the solubility principles for gasses by developing programs to illustrate this using alternative VMDL programs or by manipulating data within the program we have suggested.

Formal Assesment

As this unit is intended as an introduction to the gas laws, formal

Testing on the concepts would probably be delayed until the unit is

Completed. Brief quizzes should test student knowledge of the unit objectives.

Brief research projects from net sources are suggested in the project.