Mysteries of Matter: Into Thin Air video worksheet

I like to use this video in chemistry classes either when learning about the periodic tableMysteries of Matter Cover, or later when beginning reactions.  It could really fit in anywhere, even as a good sub plan!

These questions follow the video Mysteries of Matter Episode 1: Into Thin Air.  For more information about the film visit the website: The video is 1 hour long and is available through the PBS store or your library.

Brief summary of the video:

This is the first of 3 episodes in the Mysteries of Matter series.  It introduces us to 3 scientists and how their work progresses in related topics.  We begin with James Priestley in England who experiments with ‘fixed air.’  Then, it moves on to Paris for the work of Antoine Lavoisier in discovering oxygen.  Finally, Humphrey Davy is described as a charismatic lecturer, enthusiastic ‘tester’ of different gasses, and discoverer of more elements.

In addition to discussing elements, the following topics become good discussions with this video:

  • Does a gas have mass?
  • Scientific collaboration – is it wise to share all of your experiments and results?  What if you don’t understand the results?  Who should get credit for a discovery – the person who performed the experiment, or the person who understands its significance?
  • Lab Safety – Compare the procedures and equipment that we would use today, with the methods used in this episode
  • Chemistry as a hobby – in a time without TV, internet, etc.  people went to lectures as entertainment, people tinkered in their own homes to make new discoveries.

I have created a video guide with questions for students to fill in as they watch this film.  If you are interested in the handout it is available through my Teachers Pay Teachers store by clicking here:

What do you think of this video?  I thought it was very valuable and my students found it interesting!