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Topic: Density

Abstract

This lesson will feature an application cycle, focused on density. Students will first make

predictions about a scenario (Floating: Coke vs. Diet Coke), and then they will observe that

phenomenon. I will model how to calculate density using the Coke vs. Diet Coke example.

They will then have guided examples (whole class guided by me) of how to calculate density

using D=M/V. We will also work backwards, calculated mass or volume using the formula.

Students will then have a homework assignment calculating density, explaining why things are

more/less dense. This knowledge will be used again/maintained when we move into plate

tectonics (crust types), ocean currents (density differences due to salinity), and meteorology.

A. Big Ideas

Density is the mass of a substance per unit volume. In other words, it is the mass of

a sample (in grams) divided by its volume (in mL = cm3). We calculate density using the

formula Density = Mass/Volume. Density is a property of matter that does not depend on

the amount of matter present; it is constant under constant temperature and pressure

conditions. Thus, it can be used to identify unknown substances when density information

for common substances is available. Most substances (especially gases, such as air)

increase in density as pressure is increased or temperature is decreased.

Density is an important base of knowledge for understanding many topics in Earth

Science. Density is an important concept used to understand the mechanism behind plate

tectonics; density explains how continental and oceanic plates float/move on the

asthenosphere. In oceanography, ocean currents are driven by differences in density;

different levels of salinity cause these differences. Density is also important in

meteorology; air movement is caused by differences in air density due to variations in

temperature. (HSCEs E4.2, E4.2d, E3.2c, E4.3)

B. Student Practices

1. Naming key practices

Students will understand how to use mathematics and computational thinking to solve

scientific questions. Students will learn how to correctly use the formula for density,

D=Mass/Volume. Students will also learn how to use the formula to find the mass of an object if

they know the volume and density, or how to find the volume if they know the mass and density.

Students will understand the units of density, as a unit of mass/a unit of volume. Students will

know that the density of water is 1 g/cm3, and be able to explain if an object will float or sink in

water. Students will be able to explain the concept of density in words.

Students have already had experience in observing that certain things float in water, and

others sink. In this activity sequence, they should be able to master the practice of using

mathematics and computational thinking, to then construct an explanation for why different

objects float or sink.

Performance Expectation

Associated

NGSS Practice

1. 5-PS1-3. Make Observations and measurements to identify materials based on their

properties.

Analyzing and

Interpreting Data

1. Define density as a measure of the amount of mass in a given volume.

Developing and

Using Models

Using Mathematics

and Computational

Thinking

A. Storyline for the Activity Sequence in Context

Stage

Role in Storyline

Lessons before

your sequence

Metric System Review: mass, length, volume, units, conversions, measurement techniques.

Students will have mastery of measurable units, and then will apply that to a derived

unit/concept (density)

Lesson 1

Two Steel Spheres demo will be a modeling exercise, the volume, and density will be

calculated. This lesson will establish the problem and it will serve as the first modeling

activity, with a step-by-step walk through of calculating the density for both spheres.

Density notes will be taken (what it measures, how to calculate, and units).

Lesson 2

Coke vs. Diet Coke will serve as the first coaching activity; it will be completed as a lab

assignment. Each group will make predictions; do the activity, then find the mass, volume

and density to explain what happened.

Lesson 3/4

A 2-day capstone lab, practicing using tools to measure mass and volume, and then calculating

density will serve as a fading activity. Students will be working on the lab in groups, but

will turn it in, independently, for a grade, based on correctness. There will be a density

worksheet assigned for homework (day 4).

Lessons after

your sequence

Directly after: Energy in Earth systems. Later in the year, plate tectonics (density differences

of crusts and affects on behavior), ocean currents (salinity/temperature causes density

differences, drives currents), meteorology (air mass density differences and affects on

behavior). Maintenance of the topic will happen in the form of warm-ups in future units,

extra credit test questions, and

Focus Objective

Objective

Understand how mass and volume can be used to determine the density of an object

using D=M/V.

NGSS Practice

Using Mathematics

and Computational

Thinking

1. Application Cycle

Examples and Scaffolding (Pattern in Student Practices)

List of examples

A. Given mass and volume of an object, students will:

1. Calculate density, using the formula: D=Mass/Volume.

2. Show all steps/calculations that were done.

3. Use correct units through all steps.

4. Explain if that object will float or sink in water.

Stages in Your Application Sequence

Stage

Establishing

the problem

Modeling

Coaching

Fading

Maintenance

Teaching Activities

Two Steel Spheres, Density notes (Scaffolding #1-4)

Will it Sink or Will it Float?, notes examples, and (Scaffolding #1-4)

Graphically Comparing Density and Density Homework (Scaffolding #1-4)

Measuring Lab (Scaffolding #1-3)

Warm-Ups, test extra credit questions (not included in this plan) (Scaffolding

#1-4)

C. Lesson Plans

Lesson 1 Materials

Demo materials: 2 steel spheres (one large and light, one small and heavy), tub of water

Welcome, attendance

Explain that we will observe a strange phenomena today, pass out Two Steel Spheres

worksheet

Demo

o Give students time to answer the first 3 review questions (density formula,

predict, densities compared to water)

o Do the demo (shock and amaze students)

(Modeling), and then allow students to use that value to calculate the density.

(Coaching)

o Review all answers and go over anything that caused confusion, this worksheet

can be placed in the notes section of the binder

Density notes

o Pass out note sheet

o I will walk through the PowerPoint slides, giving wait time for students to write

down the notes.

o I will complete the example for the students (modeling) while they follow along.

Inform them to be prepared to be doing lab activities for the next three days, and to bring

their notes back to class.

Lesson 2 Materials

Lab materials (per group): can of Coke, can of Diet Coke, tub of water, triple beam

balance

Welcome, take attendance, make sure any homework or late work is turned in to the

appropriate basket

Pass out Coke vs. Diet Coke lab sheet

Demo

o Pass out lab sheet

o I will give the students a few minutes to answer the first few questions on the

worksheet (Similar? Different? Predict.)

o Students will break into their lab groups, and each group will conduct the

investigation, they will put the cans of pop in water, observe, and then find the

mass and volume, and calculate the density.

o As an extra visual, I will show them the same mass of real sugar and artificial

sweetener, so they can visualize the difference inside the can.

o The lab sheets can be turned in at the end of the hour, otherwise, they are

homework

Students will be instructed to place their notes in their notes section of their binder, and

let them know that tomorrow will be the beginning of a large lab.

Lesson 3 Materials

Lab materials: Pennies, textbooks, bulletin board, graduated cylinders, colored water,

marbles, rocks, paper clips, box of Kleenex, blocks of wood

Lesson 3 Introduction (5 minutes)

Welcome, attendance, have the students look around the room and notice all of the lab

materials out, students will be working in groups and completing a measurement lab.

Students will have the whole hour, plus more time the next day, to measure, calculate the

mass, volume, and density of many different objects, using different tools and techniques.

Each student will be responsible for doing the measurements, but the lab will be collected

in a group basis, the group will agree on answers, fill out a group answer sheet and turn

that in.

Students will be reminded that they will have more time to complete the lab tomorrow, I

will collect the lab sheets (so no one can forget/lose it), there is no homework for the

evening.

Lesson 4 Materials

Lab materials: Pennies, textbooks, bulletin board, graduated cylinders, colored water,

marbles, rocks, paper clips, box of Kleenex, blocks of wood

Lesson 4 Introduction (5 minutes)

Welcome, attendances, pass back lab sheets, and allow students to move to lab stations.

Students will have time to finish making any measurements and calculations, and then

convene with their groups to discuss answers, and fill out group answer sheet. I will

collect the answer sheets.

Pass out density worksheet for homework, I will read aloud the review material on the

worksheet, and then the students will have any remaining time to begin working on it. It

will be due at the beginning of the hour the next day.

A. Focus Objective

Understand how mass and volume can be used to determine the density of an object using

D=M/V.

My assessment task: 1.A) Which is heavier, a pound of wood or a pound of steel? Explain your

answer. B) Why do you think that wood floats in water but steel sinks? C) Why do you think

that helium balloons rise in air?

The assessment task from my mentor: Suppose you have one cubic centimeter ( 1 cm3)

of each material listed in the table. Which material would have the greatest mass? Which would

have the least mass?

Material

Density (g/cm3)

Mercury

13.6

Silver

10.5

Water

1.00

Iron

Gold

Platinum

7.86

19.3

21.4

Here is (a new object) what would you need to measure to determine if it would float or sink in

water?

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