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Stratocumulus clouds over Monument Valley, Arizona.
© Michael Collier

An understanding of the properties of air is the basis for understanding weather. The problem for young children is that air cannot be seen because it is invisible. Its existence can only be inferred by the effects air has on objects. Air makes trees sway, feels cool on our faces, makes flags unfurl, drives sailing ships and so on. But, what happens when air is still? A young child will often infer that air is not there, gone away or does not exist. In the investigations that follow, students identify several ways in which air affects other objects and use those effects as evidence for the presence of air.