Geography Functional Chapter 1 Experiments 8A and 8B Air Occupies Space

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  • Experiment 8A: a glass bowl, a small bottle, a stopper, and water
  • Experiment 8B: a funnel, pitcher of water, rubber stopper with an opening, and a bottle


  • Teacher should have conducted the First Great Lesson: God Who Has No Hands/The Universe Story before beginning these experiments.
  • Chapter 1 of Functional Geography is Formation of the Earth and includes Impressionistic Charts 1-6
  • Functional geography curriculum focuses on a presentation of the world in terms of the active and functioning processes affecting the earth as a planet in the sun's family. Geography examines the social and cultural contexts of the world while functional geography explores the geological and astronomical contexts of the earth in the universe.
  • When we teach functional geography to the child, we are both performing and recording with words and pictures the forces affecting our planet earth.
  • Functional Geography is presented to the child as an experiment which isolates a concept and then an impressionistic chart which makes a visual impression.


Experiments 8A and 8B are a part of the LAYERS OF THE EARTH experiments. What is air?

Experiment 8A: Air Occupies Space 1. Take the small bottle and cork it. 2. Fill the bowl with water.3. Dip the bottle under the water and slowly take off the stopper.

Record your observation:

Statement: (Air Occupies space, and air rises. When the small bottle is tilted upward under water and uncorked, the air bubbles rise to the water surface.)

Experiment 8B: Air Occupies Space 1. Thread the funnel through the stopper. 2. Plug the bottle with the stopper. 3. Pour the water quickly into the funnel. Attention: The funnel must always remain full of water.

Record your observation:


(Air occupies space inside the bottle, preventing the water from entering the bottle.)


IMPRESSIONISTIC CHART: Chart 6: The Zones of the Earth

    What is the earth made of? While the substances of the earth cooled, they settled according to density. The heaviest substances went to the bottom or the center of the earth; the lighter substances remained at the surface.
    We know the radius of the earth, but we are never able to reach the center of the earth. How do we know what is inside? This is discovered by studying the seismic waves or vibrations produced by earthquakes. Seismographs measure the movements of the earth. There are tremors or waves. These move in different ways through the substances. As the seismic waves move through materials of different density, they change speed, arriving at the surface at different times. The internal part of the earth is NOT boiling lava. It is essentially hard and solid, no matter how high the temperature. Pressure prevents the passage from solid to liquid to gas. Scientists study the cracks, the lava, iet. They find when the pressure is released, the rock melts. It is though that the solid inner core of the earth has a 755-mile radius.We think it is nickel and iron similar to meteorites that have been found. The outer liquid core is 705 miles thick and is thought to be made of iron, nickel, and silicon. The lower mantle is mostly composed of peridotite (FE and Mg silicates). There is a lower mantle 1,400 miles thick. The upper mantle of 370 miles is partly plastic. This may be the place where the volcanoes start. The thin crust is composed of continental crust and oceanic crust, sometimes called sima and, mostly comprised of silicon, magnesium, and aluminum. The average depth of the ocean is 2-1/2 miles. The atmosphere, held to the earth by gravity, decreases in density with altitude. Half of the air (by weight) lies within 3 miles of the surface of the earth, 3/4 within 7 miles, and 97% within 17 miles.
    Matter arranges itself by weight. The weight is the force by which each substance is attracted to the center of the earth. It is not constant. It varies between the equator and poles. The force of attraction is gravity. We want to study about the weight of each substance. Let's examine two boxes of the same size. Fill one with straw, the other with iron. Place them on a scale. They have the same volume, but not the same weight. This is called specific gravity.
    The lithosphere of the earth is the part that has greatly changed. During the cooling process, and due to the erosive effects of water, reliefs and lakes were formed. But, the earth is still changing. This changing process is slower now because the earth is no longer bare and naked. Today, we are not aware of these changes because our life is so short. Mountains seem eternal. In comparison to the earth's age, they are like the fog which comes and goes. Some that were, are no more. Some that are now, will disappear. Some mountain ranges are still rising. The earth's surface is not still. It is rising in some places and depressing in others. Continental masses also move. When the earth rises it forms mountains. Then, they suffer from erosion. If there is a depression, a basin is formed. It will be filled in by the erosive work of wind and water.

INNER and OUTER CORE- Radius= 2,100 miles (3,400 km). Made up mainly of nickel and iron. The inner core is solid. The outer core is of molten metal. It is surrounded by other layers, each having it own characteristics. MANTLE- Composed of peridotite. Radius= lower mantle-1,400 mules, upper mantle-370 miles. In the outer layer of the mantle, there is a small percentage of iron, which increases near the center. LITHOSPHERE- Above the mantle is the lithosphere (sometimes called the geosphere). The lithosphere is composed of rock. We live on this layer which is also called the crust. The continental crust is approximately 22 miles thick; the ocean crust is approximately 3 miles thick. HYDROSPHERE- The water within the hollows of the earth's surface is called the hydrosphere. ATMOSPHERE- The air surrounding the earth is called the atmosphere.

Technical Aspect: The Chemical Constitution of the Earth

    We know that the radius of the earth is 3,963 miles. But humans have never been able to penetrate this far into the earth. We wonder then, how human can know what is at the center of the earth. They do this by studying the crevices produced in the earth by earthquakes. Humans do this by means of a special instrument called a seismograph. The internal part of the earth is essentially hard, in spite of the high temperatures. Why is matter hard, it matter melts at high temperatures? Because the other layers of the earth exert such pressure on this interior part, that this pressure impedes the process of melting. Scientists study the crevices and the lava produced by earthquakes and volcanoes, thy believe that this matter is no longer in a solid state because the pressure on it has been released, and not because they were in a liquid state in the center of the EArth. Through the seismograph, they are able to detect when waves encounter solid, liquid, or gaseous substances. The evidence of seismographic waves at the time of earthquakes indicate that the center of the earth is solid.

Control Of Error

Points Of Interest

The classified nomenclature is usually presented before the impressionistic charts and after the experiments, but can also be parallel to the charts. Since the classified nomenclature can be very long, it is not necessary to present all of the classified nomenclature before beginning the charts.


  • The Montessori methodology first gives the concept of the formation of the earth through experiments. These experiments are the key to giving the child the concrete verification that the universe is not a static universe, but one in which elements are in motion.

=== Variation ===

  • Usually, the teacher presents the experiment first, and the the child does it independently using the direction card for directions. With the older children, the experiments are presented in a more scientific way.

  • TECHNICAL ASPECT: Air Occupies Space
    The universe is made of energy and matter. The number of substances which compose matter is infinite. The substances which compose matter are either simple or compound:

Simple: Cannot be broken down: elements. Compound:Can be broken down into elements.

    Elements are made of atoms; compounds are made of elements. Once there were only 92 elements named; now scientists name 103. Elements form all the compound substances. 
    We can compare the elements to the letters of the alphabet. With a few letters we can form an infinite number of words. In the same way, with a relatively small number of elements, many substances are formed.
    When the different elements combine, they either produce energy or absorb energy. The energy inherent in various masses is not visible as the elements are. We can only see the effects of energy, because energy is action. We can say there is the same relationship between matter and energy as there is in grammar between noun and verb. The noun is matter, and the verb is action, energy. Just as the verb needs the noun in order to exist, so energy needs matter.

EXAMPLE: Movement is energy. But we can see action or energy only in substances which move, such as clouds. Heat is also energy, but heat can be seen only in a burning substance. Through action, matter is transformed into energy, such as a burning piece of wood transformed into heat.

    Energy is also transformed into substance. Fro example, the heat energy from a burning piece of wood produces gas and other substances.
    Matter and energy follow certain laws in the process of combining. These are physical and chemical laws. The elements follow chemical laws when they combine to produce new substances. Example, hydrogen and oxygen, when combined, form water.
    When elements combine in such a way that the nature of the substance is not changed, they are following physical laws.
    There are history experiments to prove these statements regarding Chemical laws: Refer to the History album for these experiments.