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In the Boyle’s Law Inquiry Lab Kit for AP® Physics 2, derive a mathematical equation describing the relationship between the pressure and volume of a gas at constant temperature.

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AP Physics 2, Big Idea 5, Investigation 3

Physics and chemistry often overlap, perhaps most significantly in their ability to form joint explanations of the behavior of gases. The four variables used to describe a gas—pressure, volume, temperature and moles—are intimately related. As one or more variables change, one or more of the others also change, in direct or inverse relation. This advanced-inquiry investigation explores the relationship between the pressure of a gas and the volume of the container in which it is held, as well as how a gas performs work or is worked upon.

The purpose of this advanced inquiry investigation is to derive a mathematical equation describing the relationship between the pressure and volume of a gas at constant temperature. In the introductory part of the experiment, students learn how to set up a special apparatus and quantify the amount of applied force to compress the gas. In the guided-inquiry portion of the experiment, students are challenged to derive the relationship between pressure and volume by constructing graphs, which they must further interpret to determine the amount of work done on or by the gas.

Complete for 24 students working in groups of three. All materials are reusable.

Correlation to Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS)

Science & Engineering Practices

Asking questions and defining problems
Developing and using models
Planning and carrying out investigations
Analyzing and interpreting data
Using mathematics and computational thinking
Obtaining, evaluation, and communicating information
Engaging in argument from evidence

Disciplinary Core Ideas

MS-PS3.C: Relationship between Energy and Forces
HS-PS3.C: Relationship between Energy and Forces

Crosscutting Concepts

Patterns
Stability and change
Cause and effect
Scale, proportion, and quantity
Systems and system models

Performance Expectations

MS-PS3-5. Construct, use, and present arguments to support the claim that when the kinetic energy of an object changes, energy is transferred to or from the object.
HS-PS3-1. Create a computational model to calculate the change in the energy of one component in a system when the change in energy of the other component(s) and energy flows in and out of the system are known.
HS-PS3-2. Develop and use models to illustrate that energy at the macroscopic scale can be accounted for as a combination of energy associated with the motion of particles (objects) and energy associated with the relative position of particles (objects).