Density – Identification Challenge

image

Materials:

  • Flinn Scientfic Block set (link) & Resources/Handout (pdf)
  • Ruler
  • Calculator
  • Triple Beam Balance
  • Worksheet to collect data (pdf)

For this activity, I used the set of density blocks from Flinn Scientific. Each group of students had 6 blocks made of the same material. Their challenge was to identify the material using their measurement skills to calculate the mass, volume, and density of each block. This activity also reinforced the concept that the density of an object is constant.

Reading a Graduated Cylinder- Free Online Resources

Image Source: Biochemies

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

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.

Resources:

  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. Super Teachers Worksheet – practice problems (pdf)
  4. Measuring Liquid Volume – practice problems (pdf) (No answer key)
  5. Science Starters/Warm Ups/Do Nows: (Graduated Cylinder ppt), (Beaker/Erlenmeyer ppt)
Image Source: CK12

Finding Volume of Rectangular Prisms Using Length x Width x Height

volume_density_blocks

Materials:

  • Handout – Volume Lab (pdf)
    • This handout includes a pre-lab assessment and answer key
  • Rulers
  • Calculators
  • Blocks (set from Flinn)
    • I use these blocks as part of a density lesson as well
    • Prior to this set, I used blocks of scrap wood that were cut in the wood shop, but any rectangular shape works well such as chalk boxes, expo boxes, staple boxes, tissue boxes, playing cards box, dice, etc…

Background

Prior to having the students record the measurements for the blocks, we go over the importance of how to orient the blocks before measuring. A problem that students often run into is that they end up measuring one of the sides two times, and not measuring all three of the sides. Even though the right-hand rule is not used for volume, it helps to find the L, W, & H of each block.

In the image below, Z = Length, Y= Width, and X = Height. Mathematically, it doesn’t matter which side is designated as the width, height, or length since all three sides are multiplied, but this will help students measure all three sides properly. Students should place the block in their hand and align their fingers with the three sides of the block. Once they have decided on how to orientate the block, they can record their measurements.

Image Source: cncexpo.com

For this lab, you can have several stations set up around the room with 1-3 blocks at each station. I assign each block a number and using a black sharpie, write it right on to the block itself. Not all blocks have to be measured, once each student has measured 10-15 blocks, they can go back to their seats and compare their measurements with a partner. We go over the answers together as a class once everyone is done.

Additional Resources:

  1. BrainPOP – Measuring Matter (link)

Metric System Notes – Foldable

metric_system_foldable

This is one of my favorite foldables. The notes for the metric system are a basic introduction with a series of short class activities.
  • Brainstorming – with their lab group, students brainstorm all the different units we use to measure things, and classify each as length, volume, and mass. We then share and discuss our answers.
  • Estimation – students estimate the sizes of common objects in a classroom using their hands and feet as rulers. They use a ruler to measure their hand span, fingernail width, etc. Once they have those measurements (and I take the rulers away), they estimate the sizes of different items in the classroom. After each group has made their estimations, we find the actual measurements and see how we did. Which group had the best estimations?
  • Prefixes & Base Words – I introduce the base units for mass, volume and length: gram, Liter, and meter. We discuss the prefixes that can be added to the base units: kilo, centi, and milli. (I don’t really go into deci, deca, or hecto because they are not as commonly used.) Then I explain how you can mix and match the prefixes with the base units and the kids list all the combinations that are possible and we go over what each one means. We also practice writing and using the abbreviations. For example centi + meter = centimeter (cm) and its used to measure distance (length).