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Components of Air – Explanation, Observation and Activity

Grade 4
May 31, 2023

In this article, we’ll learn about components of air with explanation and observation. Let’s begin

Introduction to Air

Air is the natural resource of the environment. Air is present all around us. The Earth is surrounded by a thick blanket of air called the atmosphere.

Planet Earth has provided us with the necessities of life, like air, water, food, etc. Among these, the air is the most vital for life and hence, essential. Man can live for several days without food or water, but he will die in a few minutes without air.

Air is also occurring in water in a dissolved state. Dissolved air is very important for the survival of marine life. Air is used for breathing by all kinds of living beings.

Until the eighteenth century, air was considered just one substance; experiments have proven that air is a mixture of many gases. The main gases in it were nitrogen and oxygen. Apart from these two gases, some other gases, like carbon dioxide, water vapor, and inert gases, are also present in the air.


So, let us learn about the air and its components responsible for life on Earth in this session.

Components of Air

Air is a mixture of many gases, including oxygen, nitrogen, carbon dioxide, and many more. So let us find out about some of the major components of this mixture, one by one.

1. Water Vapors


To show that water vapors are present in the air.

Apparatus required: A clean glass beaker, a cube of ice

Experiment to show air containing water vapor



  1. Take the glass tumbler and dry it from the outside.
  2. Fill it in half with ice cubes and water.
  3. Leave the tumbler untouched for some time.
  4. Observe the sidewalls of the tumbler.


You will observe that fine water droplets get deposited on the outer wall of the glass tumbler. These droplets have certainly not passed through the material of the glass tumbler from the inside.

These water droplets must have come from the air. Due to the cold surface of the glass tumbler, the water vapor in the air gets condensed into water droplets.

Conclusion: Water vapor condenses on the cooler surface of the beaker, which proves air contains water vapor.

2. Oxygen


To show that oxygen is present in the air.

Apparatus required- a glass tumbler and candles.



  1. Fix the two small candles of the same length on the table.
  2. Light both candles.
  3. Cover one of the candles with an inverted glass tumbler.
  4. Observe both candles.

Do both the candles continue to burn or go off?


The candle covered with a glass tumbler got extinguished after some time, whereas the other candle continued burning.

What is the reason behind this?

The candle was extinguished because the component inside the glass tumbler that supports burning is limited. However, the other candle is getting continuous air.

The component of air that supports burning is called oxygen.

3. Nitrogen

In the previous activity, the air was still present in the glass bottle even after the candle blew out.

This shows some components in the air that do not support burning.

The main portion of air (that does not support the burning of the candle) is nitrogen.

4. Carbon dioxide

If some wood is burning in a closed room, we may feel suffocated.

This is due to the excess amount of carbon dioxide that may be accumulated in the room as the burning goes on.

  1. Carbon dioxide makes up a small part of the air around us.

carbon dioxide

Plants take carbon dioxide from the air and release oxygen to produce their food.

This process is known as photosynthesis.


Animals consume oxygen for breathing and produce carbon dioxide.

Animal consuming oxygen

Plant and animal matter also consume oxygen on burning, producing carbon dioxide and a few other gases.

dust particles

5. Dust Particles

Dust particles are always present in the air.


  1. Find a sunny room in your home.
  2. Close all the windows and doors with curtains pulled down to make the broom dark.
  3. Now, open the window or door facing the sun just a little, allowing sunlight to enter the room only through that slit.
  4. look carefully at the incoming beam of sunlight


The tiny shining particles move in the beam of sunlight.


This activity shows that air also contains dust particles. The existence of dust particles in the air differs from time to time and from place to place.

6. Smoke Particles

The burning of fuel generates smoke.

Smoke contains a few gases and fine dust particles and is regularly toxic to living, plants, and animals.

Smoke is also produced in factories; therefore, we can see long chimneys in factories.

Smoke Particles

Moreover, in this way, it takes the harmful smoke and gases away from our noses but makes it closer to the birds flying up in the sky.

Smoke Particles


  1. Air contains some gases, water vapor and dust particles.
  2. The gases in the air are mainly nitrogen, oxygen, small amount of carbon dioxide, and many other gases.
  3. There may be some variation in the composition of air from place to place.
Components of Air


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