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Take a really deep breath. Feel how your chest gets

bigger and bigger. Your chest gets bigger because
your lungs are filling up with air. You cannot see air,
but air is all around you. You can feel it when the
wind blows.

Earth’s atmosphere is made of air. An atmosphere is

made up of the gases that surround a planet.

Air is a mixture of several different gases. The main gases
in air are nitrogen, oxygen, and argon. Air also contains
smaller amounts of hydrogen, carbon dioxide, water
vapor, helium, and other gases. Oxygen is the most
important gas for animals. Animals must breathe oxygen
in order to live.

Carbon dioxide is the most important gas for plants. Plants

use carbon dioxide and sunlight to make food. Plants give
off oxygen. Animals turn the oxygen back into carbon
dioxide when they breathe.


You can go to places where there is no air. There is no air
underwater, but you can dive underwater. You can stay
underwater a short time just by holding your breath. Air
tanks let you stay underwater for a long time. Scuba
divers wear tanks on their backs. The tanks are filled with
gases that make up air. The divers breathe the gases
through hoses.
There is less and less air the higher up you go. People
gasp for breath at the tops of tall mountains. Airplanes
must carry air. Once the airplane gets up high, air is
pumped into the cabin where passengers sit. Astronauts
have to take all the air they need with them—there’s no
air in space!
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