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.
- 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.
Google Slides – click here to access my Science Prompts from 2017-18. The slide # is the prompt #. For example, slide 14 is prompt # 14. These are the ones that I wrote – I deleted copyrighted material from other sources such as science starters from Science Spot.
Prompt Notebook Paper (Prompt Template pdf) – print 20 sheets double sided and place into 3 prong poly-folder, add more pages as needed
I start each class with a science prompt – which was assigned for homework the night before. On Monday, I post the prompts for the week and students are able to work on them for homework instead of the start of class. They can do more than one each night, but we only go over one each class. I found this to be a much better use of class time and started each class with a 5 minute review of skills and content.
When students come in, they come to my desk for the ‘stamp’ of the day, take a seat, and once everyone has arrived, we go over the answers and discuss. A stamp counts for 2 HW points. They have to follow the directions to earn 2 points, if they just write an answer, they only earn 1 pt. I do a quick spot check, but don’t make any corrections at this point. I randomly pick on students each day to give an answer and they make corrections as needed.
I hope you are enjoying your summer! August will be a busy month as teachers prepare for a new school year. If you are a new teacher, or a veteran teacher, looking for new science lessons and ideas to add to your curriculum, my website is here to help. Everything I have posted is free for you to use in your classroom. All of my Google Slides can be edited to meet your needs – here is a quick tutorial to help you make modifications.
To help you find what you need quickly, there are several options available:
Search box in the upper right corner – click on the magnifying glass and enter key words to find lessons.
Tag cloud – scroll down, on the right you can choose either a topic or standard. Each blog entry also has tags on them to help you find related lessons.
Category Menu – scroll down on the right and look for lessons related to your topic, such as ‘Life Science’ or ‘Skills’
Enjoy the rest of your summer and best wishes for the 2018-19 school year!
We are having a tech-free day and thought between Transition Metal Bingo and Periodic Table Battleship, my students will really get to know how to find elements on the Periodic Table. We are just learning about how the Periodic Table is arranged according to Families, how to determine Shells and Valence Electrons, and how to draw Bohr Diagrams and Lewis Structures. Click on the links to for detailed lesson information.
I wanted a simple handout for my students to use and that was easy to manage. Most of the Periodic Table Battleship games involve expo markers and file folders, but that is time consuming to set up and clean up. Using this handout, they can use two different colored highlighters, crayons, colored pencils, etc. to keep track of their boat placement, hits, and misses. I have ‘privacy screens’ that we use during tests and quizzes that they can use to keep their papers hidden from their opponent.
I use this activity as a guided review of reading metric measurements in cm and mm. Each student receives one metric measurement, you can laminate and hand out individual task cards to students, or simply print and cut apart so that students can write on each card as well.
As the measurement is projected on the board, the student with that task card will come up to the board and draw a line on the ruler for to represent that measurement, and add the value. Each student will mark the measurement on their own handout as well. Advance to the next slide, and a new student will add their value to the ruler. Continue until all students have added their values to the ruler,
Here is a simple experiment to incorporate making predictions and reading graduated cylinders. I have two 1-Liter graduated cylinders set up, one in a glass cylinder with blue food coloring and one in a plastic graduated cylinder with green food coloring.
I filled both with water a few days before the start of school and an equal amount of drops of food coloring. Students will make predictions on small post-it notes and place it on the drawing of a large graduated cylinder. Where do they think the water level will be at the end of school? Will it evaporate before school ends? By what date?
I will also have them come up with factors that affect the rate of evaporation on larger post-it notes. What affects evaporation? Will the air in our classroom be drier in the Winter when the heat is on? Is our classroom humid now since it is warm out?
I will post their predictions and questions next week. At the start of the month, I will also post the volume so they can see the evaporation rates over time.
New for 2016 – to see the older version with additional lesson details, please visit my post from last year.
Before starting the activity, I set the stage that they are a group of archeologists and have discovered an ancient tablet at an archeological dig site. Unfortunately, the tablet is broken and as they excavate, they only find a few pieces at a time. What does the ancient table say? Scientists all over the world try to decipher the ancient text…
- Original Worksheet: (pdf)
- Worksheet to compare posters (Google Doc)
- Words to cut apart (pdf) – this year I removed the word “bone” to change it up a little
- construction paper
- white paper cut into 1/4ths or small index cards
- glue sticks
- colored pencils
This year, I wanted to try something different for this lesson. Instead of seeing how close each group came to the original phrase that was on the “tablet”, I wanted each group to analyze the findings from the other groups to compare their findings and look for similarities and differences. This would be similar to a gallery walk (see video below) but without students explaining their posters, they would view posters at their own pace and choose any 3 posters to compare for each category.
Note – this lesson plan is a modification of the original lesson plan from The University of California Museum of Paleontology (link)