Key Concepts

A submerged thing displaces a volume the liquid same to the volume the the object.One milliliter (1 mL) that water has a volume the 1 cubic centimeter (1cm3).Different atom have various sizes and masses.Atoms ~ above the regular table are arranged in order follow to the number of protons in the nucleus.Even though an atom might be smaller than another atom, it can have an ext mass.The massive of atoms, their size, and how they are arranged recognize the thickness of a substance.Density equals the fixed of the object split by its volume; D = m/v.Objects through the exact same mass however different volume have different densities.

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Students usage the water displacement method to discover the volume of different rods the all have actually the exact same mass. They calculation the thickness of each rod, and also use the characteristic density of each material to recognize all 5 rods. Then students think about the relationship in between the mass, size, and arrangement of atoms to explain why different rods have various densities. Students will certainly be briefly introduced to the periodic table.


Students will have the ability to explain the materials have actually characteristic densities because of the various mass, size, and arrangement of your atoms. Student will have the ability to use the volume displacement technique to find the volume of an object.


Download the student activity sheet, and also distribute one per student as soon as specified in the activity. The task sheet will serve as the “Evaluate” component of every 5-E class plan.


Make certain you and also your students wear effectively fitting goggles.

Materials because that Each Group

Set of 5 different rods that all have actually the very same massGraduated cylinder, 100 mLWater in a cupCalculator

Notes around the materials:

For this lesson girlfriend will require a set of five solid rods, each through the very same mass, exact same diameter, yet a different volume. Every rod is make of a different material. Over there are number of versions of these rods obtainable from different suppliers. This task uses the equal Mass Kit native Flinn scientific (Product #AP4636) however can be adjusted to any set of same mass rods. Because there room only 5 samples in the same Mass kit, you may need two kits so the each team can occupational with a sample.

This graph will assist you identify each rod. Do not disclose this info to the students. They will find the identification of each rod and the station relationship in between the density and also the length of every rod later on in this lesson.

Table 1. Physical properties because that solid cylinder unkowns.SampleMaterialApproximate density (g/cm3)Relative lengthSmallest metalShiny gray metalDark grayTall off-whiteTallest white


Show students 5 rods that have the same mass yet different volumes.

Show college student the five rods and explain the they all have the very same mass. Then hold up the longest, middle-sized, and shortest rods and remind students the they have actually the same mass.

Ask student to do a prediction:

Which pole is the most dense? least dense? In between?

Students might reason that due to the fact that the massive of each rod is the same, the volume of every rod must have actually something to perform with its density. Some may go so far as to say the the rod with the the smallest volume must have actually the greatest density, due to the fact that the same mass is packed into the the smallest volume. Or the the rod through the biggest volume must have the lowest density, since the very same mass is spread out over the biggest volume.

Tell college student that like the cubes in the ahead activity, they will require to recognize the volume and mass of each of the samples. Lock will also calculate the thickness of every sample and use this worth to number out which material each rod is make of.

Show one animation and also demonstrate just how to measure volume utilizing the water displacement method.

Project the computer animation Water Displacement.

Play the computer animation as you show the water displacement an approach using a cup that water, a i graduated cylinder, and a rod, the means students will perform in the activity. Usage the dark gray plastic sample so that students deserve to see that better.


Demonstrate what student will do by putting water native a cup right into a 100-mL i graduated cylinder until it get a elevation that will certainly cover the sample. This is the “initial water level.”

Tell students that the surface of water in a tube may not be completely flat. Instead, the surface may curve in a shallow U-shape referred to as the meniscus. When measuring, read the line just at the bottom that the meniscus.


Tilt the i graduated cylinder and slowly slide the sample into the water. Organize the graduated cylinder upright. Record the level of the water. Suggest out the this is the “final water level.”

Tell students that you desire to discover out exactly how much the water level changed. Subtract the initial water level indigenous the final water level to uncover the volume the the rod.

Volume the sample = last water level − early stage water level.


Have students calculate the density of five different rods and also use the characteristic residential property of density to correctly identify them.

Note: The densities for the three plastics space similar, so students need to be really careful as soon as measuring your volume making use of the water displacement method. Also, that is difficult to measure the volume of the smallest rod. Provide students a hint that it is in between 1.5 and also 2.0 mL.

Question come investigate

Can friend use thickness to recognize all 5 rods?

Materials for each group

Set the five various rods that all have the very same massGraduated cylinder, 100 mLWater in a cupCalculator

Teacher preparation

Use a long-term marker to note the five rods through letters A, B, C, D, and also E. Keep track of i beg your pardon letter synchronizes to which sample without letting student know. If you room using 2 or much more sets the rods, be certain to note each sample the the same material with the same letter. ~ a team finds the volume that a sample, they must then pass the sample to an additional group till all teams have discovered the volume the all 5 rods. Because that the longest sample, i beg your pardon floats, students deserve to use a pencil to gently press the sample simply beneath the surface ar of the water to measure up its complete volume.


VolumePour enough water from your cup into the i graduated cylinder to reach a elevation that will certainly cover the sample. Read and also record the volume. Slightly tilt the graduated cylinder and also carefully location the sample into the water. Location the i graduated cylinder upright ~ above the table and look at the level that the water. If the sample floats, use a pencil come gently push the top of the sample just under the surface of the water. Document the variety of milliliters for this final water level.

Find the quantity of water displaced by subtracting the initial level that the water indigenous the last level. This volume equals the volume the the cylinder in cm3.

Record this volume in the graph on the activity sheet.Remove the sample by pouring the water earlier into her cup and taking the sample the end of your i graduated cylinder.DensityCalculate the density using the formula D = m/v. Record the density in (g/cm3).Trade samples v other teams until you have actually measured the volume and also calculated the density of all five samples. Table 2. Volume, mass, and also density because that unknowns A–HSampleInitial water level (mL)Final water level (mL)Volume the the rods (cm3)Mass (g)Density (g/cm3)ABCDE
Identify the samplesCompare the values for density you calculated come the values in the chart. Then write the letter surname for every sample in the chart.

Note: The densities students calculate might not be exactly the exact same as the given densities in the chart. Together students room working, examine their worths for volume to be certain that they room using the difference in between the final and also initial water levels, not simply the last level.

Table 3. Volume, mass, and also density because that unknowns A–HMaterialApproximate density (g/cm3)Sample (Letters A–E)BrassAluminumPVCNylonPolyethylene

Discuss whether students’ worths for density support their predictions native the beginning of the lesson.

Discuss student values for thickness for every of the samples. Allude out that various groups may have various values because that density, but that most of the values are close to the worths in the chart.

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Ask students:

Each team measured the volume that the very same samples. What are some factors that groups could have various values because that density?Students have to realize that small inaccuracies in measure up volume deserve to account for distinctions in density values. An additional reason is that the graduated cylinder, itself, is no perfect. So there is always some hesitation in measuring.

Remind students that in the beginning of the class they make a prediction about the density of the small, medium, and also long sample. College student should have predicted the the longest cylinder has actually the shortest density, the shortest cylinder has actually the highest possible density, and also the center is what in between.

Ask students:

Was your prediction about the density of these three samples correct? have students look at at your chart through the values for mass, volume, and density for each cylinder. Have them look for a relationship in between the volume and also the density. Students need to realize the the shortest cylinder has actually the biggest density and the longest cylinder has actually the shortest density. Is it same to say the if two samples have the very same mass that the one with the bigger volume will have actually a reduced density? Yes.Why?Because the samples have actually the very same mass, their volumes will provide you one idea around their densities follow to the equation D = m/v. If a larger number for volume is in the denominator, the thickness will be lower. Is it fair to say that the one with the smaller volume will have actually a greater density? Yes.Why?If a smaller number for volume is in the denominator, the density will be higher.