GasLab: A Model-based Toolkit and Curriculum
for Exploring Ideal Gases and Statistical Mechanics

Copyright 1997 by Uri Wilensky. All rights reserved.
NSF REC - 9632612

Models   Curriculum   Papers   Researchers

The GasLab project was designed to help students visualize and explore the physical behavior of an ideal gas and relate the idealized microscopic molecular rules to the measurable observable quantities that emerge. This set of models simulates the behavior of gas molecules in a closed container under various conditions. It was one of the original Connected Mathematics StarLogoT models (under the name GPCEE) and is now ported to StarLogoT as part of the Connected Mathematics "Making Sense of Complex Phenomena" Modeling Project.
The GasLab models are examples of "extensible models". They are basic seed models that allow students to "peek under the hood" of the model and see how it works. Interested students can then modify the underlying model, creating an experiment or a new variant of the GasLab model.
The GasLab models are all variations of the basic model called Gas-in-a-Box. All variations use the same basic Newtonian (billiard ball) rules for what happens when gas molecules collide. Each model has different features in order to show different aspects of the behavior of gases. Many other extensions of the core Gas-in-a-Box model have been explored by students.

Other GasLab models available and in process:

GasLab Curriculum

A series of Investigations to guide the use of GasLab in the classroom is under development. This is an interactive, hands-on curriculum that will enable teachers and students in middle school and high school to work easily with GasLab models in a variety of school settings - as a class or in small groups. It can be used either to structure demonstrations and discussion, or as student worksheets, or to guide students in extending the models as independent projects. Click here to see an overview of the material and a list of the Investigations. The Investigations material is password protected. Write to us ( feedback ) for the password and with any comments or suggestions you have!


  • Two versions of the original "GasLab" paper:


Uri Wilensky
Director of the Center for Connected Learning and Principal Investigator of the GasLab project.

Ed Hazzard
Curriculum Developer on the GasLab project.

Robert Froemke
Complexity Programmer at the Center for Connected Learning and Researcher on the GasLab project.

Consultants to the Project

Joshua Mitteldorf, University of Pennsylvania

Walter Stroup, University of Texas

Chris Smick, Nobles Academy

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