Problem: How can we use water displacement to calculate the volume of one penny?
- Volume of a Penny Lab (PDF)
- Graduated cylinders (25 mL, 50 mL, or 100 mL)
- Cup or beaker of water, food coloring optional
- Pennies – 100+ per group
- Plastic Spoon – to pour water out of graduated cylinder and separate pennies
This is a simple & fun lab to have students practice measuring and reading volume as well as use water displacement to determine the volume of a penny – an irregularly shaped object.
Students will design their own series of 10 tests with the following criteria:
- All pennies must be under water inside of the graduated cylinder.
- The volume of water must not pass the 100 mL (or highest) increment.
- All data is recorded carefully.
Students were able to carefully measure and determine that the volume of a penny was 0.35 mL – most students were very close with a range of 0.33 – 0.37 mL.
Ask/Answer/Trade: FREE Google Slides
On the first day of school as part of our advisory period, we gather the 6th graders together (about 40 students) and take them outside to do this ice breaker as a whole class. The 5 advisors model how to do this activity and then we hand each student a card and allow them to mingle and mix for about 10-15 minutes.
Strike a Pose
I am not really sure what the name of this activity is, so I just call it “strike a pose” – if you know what it is, please let me know in the comments so I can update it 🙂
This is also a really fun large group activity where the kids get to run around outside and make different poses. Start off with everyone just mingling around, and then you call out a “pose” for them to strike. When starting this activity, use multiples that total the number of students you have so that no one is left out in the first few rounds. For example, it you have 40 students, you can do poses that need a pair of students, a group of 4, a group of 5, etc. Then, after a few rounds, you pick a number that does not fit evenly. Mix up the groupings randomly, they have to figure out how many people to complete the pose. The students that don’t pair up with someone, will then sit out. You can keep going until you have a handful of students left or restart at any time. This is really fun and the kids will grab anyone near them to complete the pose!
Examples of Poses:
- Single: Statue of Liberty, Michael Jackson, Spider Man, Hulk, a bowler
- Duos: Batman & Robin, Sonny & Cher, Tennis Partners, Woody & Buzz
- Trios: Charlie’s Angels, Nirvana, Jonas Brothers, Three Musketeers
- Group of 4: Beatles, Fantastic 4, Ghost Busters, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles
- Group of 5: Basketball team, The Incredibles, Jackson 5,
- Group of 6: Brady Bunch, Volleyball Team, Cast of “Friends”
- Group of 9: Baseball /SoftballTeam
- Everyone – class of 20XX
Please add additional ice breakers in the comment section!
Quick & easy – no fuss – no mess – way to prepare cabbage juice:
- Chop up half of a purple cabbage
- Add to a coffee pot
- Fill with very hot water from sink or water cooler
- Let it sit for at least 20 minutes
- Pour into flasks, beakers, or plastic cups
- Add a pipette or spoon to containers
You can add more hot water during the day as you use it, refrigerate leftovers if using next day.
Here is the link to my Cabbage Juice Lab: https://middleschoolscience.com/2016/02/28/cabbage-juice-lab-ph-indicator/
Intro to Meiosis with a comparison to Mitosis
Amoeba Sisters Videos:
This is a fun and creative activity to tie all of the following concepts together into one lesson: DNA sequencing & transcription, mRNA translation, amino acid codons & proteins, genotype, phenotype, recessive & dominant alleles & traits.
Students will help solve a crime based on DNA evidence left on a lollipop at the crime scene. There are 3 versions of the same scenario that will identify 3 different criminals so you can use them for 3 classes – this avoids having the kids tell the next class who the suspect is ;). Each student will receive one of the 4 DNA samples – you can have students work individually, or have a group of students work on suspect 1, another on suspect 2, etc. (Sorry – I do not have an answer key to post)
Directions: Worksheets: DNA-RNA-Crime-Snorks-2018 & Amino Acid Codon Wheel, & additional resource: 20 Amino Acids
- Step 1 – students will transcribe the DNA sequences into mRNA sequences
- Step 2 – using the Amino Acid codon wheel, they will determine the amino acid for each codon
- Step 3 – using the chart, they will find protein using the sequence of amino acids
- Step 4 – using the proteins, they will determine the phenotype
- Step 5 – using the phenotypes, they will determine the genotype(s)
- Step 6 – is their suspect the criminal?
- Step 7 – they will draw a mug shot of their suspect using the phenotypes they decoded
This lesson was modified from the one found on Biology Corner: https://www.biologycorner.com/worksheets/DNA_snorks.html
- Students will practice their measurement skills using a graduated cylinder to determine volume and a triple beam balance to determine mass.
- Students will determine the density of water by completing 10 trails and finding an average.
I use this lab to tie their measuring skills together and introduce the concept of density. We then do further explorations of density and practice using the formula.
This lab is a modified version of the lab posted at Middle School Chemistry – for further details about the lesson, please click on this link.
- Introduce how to read a graduated cylinder using the meniscus.
- Review how to determine the increments for each graduated cylinder.
Materials and Set Up – this was so easy and inexpensive to do and had the same effect as using dialysis tubing. Great demo/lab as part of our unit on osmosis and diffusion!
For every two students:
- handout from Biology Corner
- large beaker
- inexpensive sandwich bag – non sealing (I used Wegmans 150 ct)
- 1 tbsp corn starch
- 50 mL water
- rubber band
- clothes pin
- graduated cylinder
- 100 mL Iodine dilution
- 20 ml Iodine added to 500 mL of water
- measure out 100 mL of diluted iodine for each group
- Place one bag over each beaker
- Add 1 tbsp of cornstarch to each bag
- Add 50 mL of water to each bag
- Check for leaks
- Use a rubber band on each one to keep closed
- Clip bag to beaker
- Students will add iodine and make observations – changes will take place within a few minutes and the longer it sits, the darker it will become.
- Iodine is able to pass through the plastic bag, the starch is not
- Have students lift the bag out to see the changes that are taking place
Update – I let the set up sit over the weekend, and when I came in today, the water was almost completely clear – looks like just about all of the iodine moved into the bag: