Reading a Graduated Cylinder- Volume & Displacement Free Online Resources

(For lessons and resources on finding volume using water displacement, please see my earlier blog entry)

Resources: Updated links 11/20/18

  1. Reading Graduated Cylinders – (FREE) A nice power point presentation from Teachers Pay Teachers to introduce students to reading graduated cylinders (link)
  2. How to Read Liquid Volume video (link)
  3. Common Core Worksheet – link
  4. Reading Graduated cylinders – link
  5. Super Teachers Worksheet – practice problems (pdf)
  6. Science Starters/Warm Ups/Do Nows: (Graduated Cylinder ppt), (Beaker/Erlenmeyer ppt)

Tips:

  • The graduated cylinder has markings, like a ruler, to measure volume for water and other liquids
  • I like to use food coloring and water for the students to practice their measurements, it makes it easier for them to read the values, plus it adds some pizzazz to the lab.
    • I mostly use either blue or green food coloring, the red can stain, yellow is not dark enough.
  • Place all materials on a lunch tray for each group to contain spills and make for a very easy clean up.
  • Glass graduated cylinders can break if knocked over, plastic is more durable but can be harder to read.
  • Have students explore how to use read and use graduated cylinders:
    • Students can explore handling and pouring water into the graduated cylinders and reading the values.
    • Once they have mastered pouring and reading, they can practice measuring specific volumes such as 10 mL, 20 mL, 42 mL, 58 mL, etc into the graduated cylinder.
    • You can also set up stations with pre-measured graduated cylinders and have them practice reading the volumes.
      • Have cylinders of different sizes and increments to make it more challenging.
      • You can place task cards/answer keys at each station so students can self check once they have made their readings for immediate feedback.
Image Source: CK12
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Finding the Volume of Irregularly Shaped Objects Using Water Displacement

Pouring water into the graduated cylinder - approximately 50 mL.
Pouring water into the graduated cylinder – approximately 50 mL.

(For lessons and resources on reading and using graduated cylinders, please see my related blog entry)

Materials:

  • 2 graduated cylinders per group of 4 students
  • 1 container of water per group
  • 1 plastic tray per group
  • 1 plastic spoon per group
    • this is used to stop item from falling into the container and to fish out items if needed
  • paper towels or cloth towels
  • green or blue food coloring – a few drops per 500 mL
    • adding food coloring helps the students to make accurate readings since it easier to see the water, plus it is fun to work with 🙂
    • I don’t like to use red or yellow, they tend to stain more than the blue and green food coloring
  • an assortment of small objects such as pennies, rubber stoppers, marbles, pebbles, etc…
  • Water Displacement – Volume Lab Handout (pdf)
Slowly adding objects into the graduated cylinder. Items like rocks, marbles, metal cubes/cylinders will crack the graduated cylinder if dropped in.
Slowly adding objects into the graduated cylinder. Items like rocks, marbles, metal cubes/cylinders will crack the graduated cylinder if dropped in.
All supplies are kept on lunch trays for easy clean up and spill control.
All supplies are kept on lunch trays for easy clean up and spill control.
Reading the meniscus on a level surface at eye level to ensure accurate readings.
Reading the meniscus on a level surface at eye level to ensure accurate readings.
After recording our measurements, we empty the water and contents. The plastic spoon helps to prevent items from falling into the beaker, and fish items out if they fall in.
After recording our measurements, we empty the water and contents. The plastic spoon helps to prevent items from falling into the beaker, and fish items out if they do fall in.

Additional Resources:

  • Measuring Liquid Volume Practice Sheet (pdf)
  • Common Core – Graduated Cylinder Worksheets (link)
  • Volume by Water Displacement Worksheets (pdf)
  • Finding volume using an overflow can (pdf)

For more lessons related to Properties of Matter click here (link)