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Lesson 7. How Heavy Are They?
Week Two Lessons
6. It's a Gas!
7. How Heavy are They?
8. When You're Hot, You're Hot
9. Watt's Up?
10. Eating Up Energy

Lab investigating the mass of carbon dioxide and methane | Physical Science (Chemistry)

Links on this page: How Heavy Are They?-CO2 Lab Procedure |
How Heavy Are They?-CH4 Lab Procedure | How Heavy Are They?-CO2 Student Sheet | How Heavy Are They? – CO2 Teacher Answer Key | How Heavy Are They?-CH4 Student Sheet | How Heavy Are They?- CH4 Teacher Answer Key

 

National Education Standards Met:

science

 

Background: Many students believe that gases like carbon dioxide (CO2) do not have mass. The fact is that atmospheric gases like CO2 and methane have a tremendous amount of mass if you consider how much there is of them in our atmosphere.

Goal: Students will determine if carbon dioxide and methane have mass.

Objectives: Students will…

  • Identify that CO2 and methane have mass
  • Use chemistry to determine the mass of CO2 and methane
  • Learn about the density of CH4(g)

Materials (per lab group):

  • 1 twist tie baggie with 2 ties (quart size)
  • 1 tablespoon of baking soda
  • 40 ml of vinegar
  • 50 ml beaker
  • Triple beam balance or similar scale
  • Metal pie tin
  • 60-ml syringe of CH4 from It’s a Gas! lab
  • Large bulb polyethylene transfer pipette
  • Scissors
  • Candle in holder
  • • Matches or lighter
  • 3% dish soap solution
  • Safety glasses for each student
  • 2-cm length latex tubing

Time Required: 2, 45-60 minute period

Standards Met: S1, S2, S3, S6

Procedure:
PREP

  • Gather all of the necessary lab materials and run a test lab to certain of safety procedures.
  • Give each group one lab set-up.
  • Explain that they will be creating CO2 and CH4 in class and using these gases to examine their mass and density.

DAY ONE

  • Review safety procedures with the students.
  • Divide students into groups of 4.
  • Hand out How Heavy Are They?-CO2 Lab Procedure.
  • Allow students to complete the lab as they follow steps on their procedure sheets.
  • Remind students to fill Table 1 on How Heavy Are They?-CO2 Lab Procedure.
  • Allow students time to complete the lab as they follow the steps on their How Heavy Are They?-CO2 Lab Procedure sheets.
  • Review clean up procedures with students and give them time to complete a thorough clean up of their lab stations.
  • Allow time to complete the How Heavy Are They?-CO2 Student Sheets and review together if time allows.
  • Review procedures for the methane portion of the lab.

DAY TWO

  • Review safety procedures with the students.
  • Divide students into groups of 4.
  • Hand How Heavy Are They?-CH4 Lab Procedure and review with the students.
  • Allow students time to complete lab as they follow the steps on their How Heavy Are They?-CH4 Lab Procedure.
  • Review clean up procedures with students and give them time to complete a thorough clean up of their lab stations.
  • Hand out How Heavy Are They?-CH4 Student Sheet
  • If time allows, review the answers together.

Assessment:

  • Completed lab procedures
  • Complete student sheet


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How Heavy Are They?-CO2 Lab Procedure

Materials:

  • 1 twist tie baggie with 2 ties (quart size)
  • 1 tablespoon of baking soda
  • 40 ml of vinegar
  • 50 ml beaker
  • Triple beam balance or similar scale
  • Metal pie tin

Procedure:

  • Be sure to wear your safety goggles!
  • Double check that you have the correct materials at your lab station.
  • Zero the scale with the pie tin on it.
  • Place 1 tablespoon of baking soda into bottom of bag and tie the bag off with a twist tie above the baking soda.
  • Add 40 ml’s of vinegar to the bag (making sure that it does not reach the baking soda) and tie the bag off with another twist tie near the top of the bag. Leave plenty of room for the bag to expand when the gas is formed.
  • Place the entire bag setup in the pie tin on the scale and find its mass. Record this mass in Table 1.
  • Untie the twist tie between the baking soda and vinegar and allow the two materials to mix and inflate the bag.
  • Find the mass of the inflated bag and record in Table 1.
  • Puncture the bag and let just the gas escape.
  • Find the mass of the deflated bag and record in Table 1.
  • Determine the mass of the gas and record in Table 1.
  • Clean up your lab station according to your instructor’s directions and answer the questions on the Student Response Sheet.

 

 

Mass of bag before reaction (grams)

Mass of bag after reaction (grams)

Mass of bag after gas has escaped (grams)

Mass of gas (CO2) (grams)

 

 

 

 

 

Table 1

 

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How Heavy Are They?-CH4 Lab Procedure

Materials:

  • Large bulb polyethylene transfer pipette
  • Scissors
  • Candle in holder
  • Matches or lighter
  • CH4 (g), 60-ml syringe from It’s a Gas! lab
  • 3% dish soap solution
  • 2-cm length latex tubing

Methane is 45% lighter than air, so bubbles of the gas rise. Single bubbles of suitable size are easily generated by the device shown in Figure 2. A large bulb polyethylene transfer pipette is connected to a methane-filled syringe with a 2-cm length of latex tubing. The bulb of the pipette is cut off with a scissors.

figure 2
Figure 2

Procedure:

  • Be sure to wear your safety goggles!
  • Dip the mouth of the pipette into a 3% dish soap solution. A film of soap will cover the opening.
  • Start forming the bubble while directing the pipette’s mouth downward (Figure 2, rotated right) so the bubble forms below the device. This allows extra soap solution to gather at the bottom of the bubble as it is forming. While the bubble is still small, a slight shake will dislodge the extra drop which otherwise could make the bubble heavier-than-air. Quickly fill the bubble with the 60-mL gas while tilting the device to a horizontal position (Figure 2).
  • Dislodge the bubble with an abrupt downward flick of the pipette. The bubble may rise, stay suspended in air or slowly drop depending on the amount of methane compared to the mass of the soap film. Bubbles containing 60-mL methane usually rise.
  • Optional (but fun)-- The bubbles can be ignited with a candle. They will produce a fireball about 20-cm in diameter and represent about 2 kJ of heat. USE CAUTION!
  • Clean up according to your instructor’s directions and answer the questions on How Heavy Are They?-CH4 Student Sheet.

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How Heavy Are They?-CO2 Student Sheet

 

Name_________________________________________________ Date ________________

 

  1. Does the gas carbon dioxide have mass? Give proof for your answer.



  2. During the reaction between the baking soda and vinegar, was any mass lost? Explain your answer.



  3. What is the term for the affect that the combined weight of all the gases in our atmosphere has on us?



  4. What other type of chemical reactions produce CO2 (give at least four)?

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How Heavy Are They? –
CO2 Teacher Answer Key

  1. Does the gas carbon dioxide have mass? Give proof for your answer.

    Yes, carbon dioxide does have mass. When the bag was opened, and the gas escaped, the mass decreased.


  2. During the reaction between the baking soda and vinegar, was any mass lost? Explain your answer.

    If the bag was sealed tightly, no mass should have been lost. Some of the mass that was contained in the baking soda and vinegar was converted into the mass of the gas that was produced from the reaction, but the total mass did not change.

  3. What is the term for the effect that the combined weight of all the gases in our atmosphere has on us?

    The term that is used is atmospheric pressure.

  4. What other type of chemical reactions produce CO2 (give at least four)?

    Four other types of reactions that produce carbon dioxide are; cellular respiration, fermentation of ethanol, the manufacture of ammonia, and the burning of fossil fuels, such as coal, gas and oil.

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How Heavy Are They?-CH4 Student Sheet

Name_______________________________________________ Date_____________________

  1. How would you describe the density of methane?




  2. How does the density of methane affect our climate?



  3. What is the purpose of the soap in this lab?



  4. Describe what happened to your bubbles when you flicked them off of your pipette and give an explanation to their behavior.

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How Heavy Are They?-
CH
4 Teacher Answer Key

Name________________________________________________ Date_____________________

  1. How would you describe the density of methane?

    Methane is not very heavy in comparison to other types of gases. It is lighter than air. Methane does tend to collect near the ceiling and will layer itself downward, becoming quite dense and in an enclosed space will be lethal.

  2. How does the density of methane affect our climate?

    As more and more methane is generated in our atmosphere, large pools collect and even greater quantities of methane will eventually accumulate in the atmosphere that will reflect heat back on the earth. Methane is a very effective green house gas and in combination with CO2 the effect can raise the temperature of the earth significantly.

  3. What is the purpose of the soap in this lab?

    Soap helps to trap the methane in a “bubble”. Methane trapped in this way can demonstrate the mass of the gas in comparison to air. Soap material helps to contain the methane and is an effective means of observing this experiment’s results. The soap bubble also helps to slow the ascent of the gas.


  4. Describe what happened to your bubbles when you flicked them off of your pipette and give an explanation to their behavior.

    The bubble tends to drop at first than begins to go upward. Methane is lighter than air and will float. If the bubble is not full of methane you will get a varying degree of floatation from the bubble. Either it drops to the floor, Not enough methane; hovers and floats, only enough methane to counter the mass/density of the bubble; and finally if it floats, the bubble is full of methane and should be lighter than the surrounding air.

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