I updated my Dunkin’ for DensityLesson for 2016, I use this lesson with my 6th graders as part of our unit on properties of matter. I wanted it to be more data driven and have them analyze the data from all of their trials, and then compare their data to their classmates. I changed the objective to:
Change the density of the film canister so that 90-99% of the canister is suspending under water.
This introductory lab is a fun way to analyze data and the students look forward to finding the results each year. Who will be taller, boys or girls? Will we be taller than last year’s class? You can really analyze the data in multiple ways, you can also add the concept of min, max, mode, and range in addition the mean, you can look for trends, and you can talk about sample size, etc…
This post highlights the eight Scientific and Engineering Practices and spotlights a few lessons related to each practice. I had this as eight separate posts but decided to consolidate for easier viewing.
For more details and examples about the Science and Engineering Practices, visit NSTA.
Tag: SEP8 – click for more lessons that cover this practice
This is one of my favorite activities from our minerals and mining unit. It takes about 1 whole class period to explain the activity, collect data, eat the cookie (& crumbs), and clean up. We discuss our results the next class and determine who made the most profit.
When determining the value of the chocolate ore, I have the students place their chocolate pieces close together in one area of the map. When they are done, I go around and circle the area of chocolate and give their chocolate a rating. They count the number of boxes their chocolate covers and enter it into their spreadsheet.
If there are crumbs attached to the chocolate, I call that ‘slag’ and it lowers the value of the chocolate ore. This leads to a great discussion afterwards when we compare the profits and talk about land use. Is it better to get out as much chocolate as you can, even if you get a lot of slag, or is it better to remove just the chocolate even though you will have less in the end? How is this similar to coal mining? Diamond mining?
Google Slides – students will learn how to find the number of energy levels (shells) for elements in periods 1 – 8 and the number of valence electrons in their outer shells using the periodic table. Updated (Public link)
Erlenmeyer flasks filled with red, yellow, and blue solutions of food coloring and water
5 drops of food coloring per 200 mL (25 per 1L)
3 x 25 mL Graduated Cylinders
3 x 10 mL Graduated Cylinders
beaker filled with clean water
large beaker for used water
this activity took 2x 50 minute class periods
This lab is an updated version of the classic Rainbow Lab (link) that has been around since the 80’s (Measuring Liquid Volume with a Graduated Cylinder 1988). I used this for many years with my 5th graders, and previously with my 6th graders in the early 2000’s. Now that I am teaching 6th grade again, I wanted to make it more open ended and challenging. The purpose of the original version of the lab was twofold: First – could they follow directions carefully to make a rainbow? Second – how precisely can they measure liquid volume?
For the new version of this lab, I created new objectives and assessed the students based on their problem solving, collaboration, and measuring skills.
Students will be able to precisely measure liquids with a graduated cylinder
Students will be able to create their own lab procedures using the given parameters to guide them
Students will create new mixtures and solutions
Students will be able to record accurate data
Students will collaborate and problem solve to achieve a common goal
Students will test, evaluate, and select the best proportions to create the colors orange, green, and purple
each group made 3-4 different combinations for each color and had to, as a group, determine which combinations of primary colors created the best secondary colors
Students will follow proper lab procedures to avoid color contamination
Students will record and analyze data from the whole grade and compare their findings to the averages from each group, what patterns or trends did they notice in the data?
Students will create their own ‘designer’ color and share it with the class
this was fun way to wrap up the activity, we had a ‘fashion’ show with each group coming up to the front of the room to showcase their newly created and named colors
if time allowed, at the end we made a rainbow with each student holding their test tube and standing next to a person who had a color similar to their own, from Red to Purple
Provide each lab group with an assortment of bottles
Students will arrange the bottles from lightest to heaviest by making observations
They will record the order of the bottles and their contents with #1 as the lightest and #10 the heaviest on their handout
my groups used 9 bottles, but there is room on the handout for 10
Using the set of masses, they will estimate the mass of each bottle by holding a bottle in one hand and a mass in the other hand, recording their estimations on the handout
Procedures – Part 2
Students will transfer their estimation to the back page
Using the TBB they will record the actual masses of the bottles
Then they will rank the bottles from lightest (#1) to heaviest (#10) and compare their estimation to the actual masses. How close were the estimations to the actual masses? Did they place the bottles in the correct order?
You can also use these bottles as part of your density unit, see my blog entry for more information.
Demo & Discussion – For this part of the lesson, students will not handle the bottles, they will answer discussion questions based on their observations only.
Share observations about the bottles.
What do the bottles have in common?
What is different about the bottles?
What do you think the original contents of the bottle were?
What phases of matter are shown?
Are any of these bottles empty? Explain.
Do all of these bottles have air in them?
Which bottle has more air in it: Cotton Balls or Water? Explain.
Which bottle is filled the most? Least?
Which bottle has has the most ‘stuff’ in it? Least?
Which bottle is the heaviest? Lightest?
How would you order these bottles from lightest to heaviest?
Estimate the mass of each bottle in grams.
Which bottle is the densest?
How would you arrange these bottles from least to most dense?
Which of these bottles can have more of the same ‘stuff’ added to the inside of the bottle? Explain.
Which bottle(s) would float in a tank of water? (I do this at the very end of the lesson with everyone at the sink)
Hands On Exploration
Each group will have one set of bottles or take turns using the demo bottles and sharing their findings.
Using a triple beam balance, the volume of the bottles, and a tank of water, answer as many of the questions above as you can. (for our calculations, we use the volume of the bottle’s original content (500 mL of sport drink) to give us an approximate density, not the actual density – for comparison purposes only)
How did your findings compare to your observations and predictions?
Dunk tank – time to find out which one will float!
Give each group of students a new set of bottles (ones that they have brought in from home) and have them make observations, predictions, and density calculations.
Additional Bottle Ideas:
laundry detergent – liquid or powder
different shapes of pasta
pop corn kernels or popped
Have each student bring in a bottle from home filled with the contents of their choice so that you have enough bottle to compare. Match similar bottle shapes/sizes together for each group or match similar contents in different sized bottles for comparison.
You can also use these bottles as part of a Triple Beam Balance Activity (blog entry).