Investigating Air

Age group: 

Classroom unit


This unit provides a way for students to explore properties of air, to devise experiments that demonstrate those properties, and to 'claim credit' for their intellectual property through a mock patent.

Learning Objectives

By the end of this unit students will be better able to:

  • identify the properties of air
  • show properties of air through designed investigations
  • demonstrate an understanding of the nature and importance of patents in science and inventions

Curriculum Area: Science - the physical world

Year/s: Ages 8-11 (Primary)


Duration: 2 x 45 minute lessons

Teacher Prep Time: 5 minutes

Materials required:  Uninflated balloon, Online, smart board or hard copies of Worksheets 1-4


1. Students brainstorm the properties of air.

2. Distribute the Properties of Air Worksheet (Worksheet 1). Students work out from the illustration what the property of air is in each case, and write it in.

3. Demonstrate or prove one property — air takes up space — by blowing up a balloon.

4. Hand out Worksheet 2. Demonstrate on a smart board how it would be completed for the property demonstrated by the balloon. Have students work in small groups to design an experiment for another property of air. They write up that experiment using the headings on the worksheet page. Groups should report back to the whole class on what they did.

5. Students will now apply one property of wind (that it pushes) to create a wind direction machine. Hand our Worksheet 3, the design brief, and make sure that students are clear about their task.

6. When all designs have been completed explain to students that inventors often take out a patent on their invention. Have students look at Worksheet 4, explaining patents. Ask students to summarise what are the main advantages of a patent both for the inventor, and for other people.

7. They are to complete the mock patent application for their invention at the bottom of the Worksheet page.

8. Students can be encouraged to actually make their wind sock, and critically evaluate it in field tests.

worksheet_1-_what_are_the_properties_of_air.pdf PDF in PDF format [165.15 KB]165.15 KB
worksheet_2-_how_can_we_demonstrate_or_prove_the_properties_of_air.pdf PDF in PDF format [165.09 KB]165.09 KB
worksheet_3-_design_brief.pdf PDF in PDF format [170.74 KB]170.74 KB
worksheet_4-_what_is_a_patent.pdf PDF in PDF format [164.17 KB]164.17 KB
Last updated: 
Saturday, November 23, 2013