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?"
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.
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.
Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS)
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
MS-ESS3-5 Ask questions to clarify evidence of the factors that have caused the rise in global temperatures 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.
Common Core Math Standards (CCSS.MATH)
Algebra: Creating Equations (9-12)
CCSS.MATH.CONTENT.HSA.CED.A.4 Rearrange formulas to highlight a quantity of interest, using the same reasoning as in solving equations. For example, rearrange Ohm's law V = IR to highlight resistance R.
Expressions & Equations (6-8)
CCSS.MATH.CONTENT.6.EE.B.5 Understand solving an equation or inequality as a process of answering a question: which values from a specified set, if any, make the equation or inequality true? Use substitution to determine whether a given number in a specified set makes an equation or inequality true.
CCSS.MATH.CONTENT.7.EE.B.4 Use variables to represent quantities in a real-world or mathematical problem, and construct simple equations and inequalities to solve problems by reasoning about the quantities.