Interactive, scaffolded model
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Students observe a model of a gas and are challenged to prevent spatial equilibrium while the model is running. Students learn how spatial equilibrium is determined.
Students will be able to:
Nature loves equilibrium. All natural systems tend to move in this direction be it energy minimization, pressure, or osmosis. Spatial equilibrium explores the nature of how molecules move from an area of high concentration to lower concentration. Students set up various starting conditions and watch as the system naturally reaches a spatial equilibrium in which the concentration is, on average, over time, the same everywhere.
This activity is linked closely with two other activities:
Brownian Motion: http://molo.concord.org/database/activities/40.html
Diffusion, Osmosis, and Dialysis: http://molo.concord.org/database/activities/223.html
Continual movement of atoms results in motion that appears random and causes particles to be distributed evenly among the atoms in a gas.
Additional Related Concepts
You might find useful the classroom support available at: http://www.concord.org/~barbara/workbench_web/unit1/index.html
Imagine that you are at a party where someone dared you to pop one of the Helium balloons in a room that has all the windows and doors closed. Describe what would happen to those Helium atoms once they have been released from the balloon. Specifically, talk about their eventual position inside the room and how they arrived there.
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