In this activity, the students will discover the relationship between an object's mass and the amount of space it takes up (its volume). The students will learn about the concept of displacement and how an object can float if it displaces enough water, and the concept of density and its relationship to mass and volume. To access the activity sheet mentioned in the Assessment piece, first go to the top of the page and click on Curriculum Unit Lost in the Amazon; next scroll down to the Attachments and click on Lost in Amazon student guide. From here, scroll down to Lesson 6 Activity 1 to find the required sheet. Students will: u2022Measure an object's mass and volume using the appropriate tool. u2022Estimate, calculate, and compare volume and surface area of given objects. u2022Measure the properties of objects using tools such as rulers and balances. u2022Observe, describe, measure and record changes in properties.
- GLE 0807.9.2
- Explain that matter has properties that are explained by the structure and arrangement of its atoms.
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- Measure an object's mass and volume using the appropriate tool.
- Estimate, calculate and compare volume and surface area of given objects.
- Measure the properties of objects using tools such as rulers and balances.
- Observe, describe, measure and record changes in properties.
This activity and its associated lesson provides an opportunity for student teams to complete the engineering design process employed by practicing engineers including constructing and testing their boat designs. See the related unit's Engineering Connection for further explanation.
Each group needs:
- two-pan balance with gram weights
- large bowl, ~2–3 inches deep
- non-drying modeling clay, one 1-inch diameter ball per student
- 5-10 paper towels sheets
- water in a pourable cup
- 1 slender glass cup or other clear container; best of the container is of uniform size if possible, that is, almost a perfect cylinder; also choose a container that can be marked on; refer to procedure steps 12-15
- 1 sharpie pen or china marker
- small handful of at least three of the following materials to use as boat loads: small metal nuts (1/4-inch works well), paperclips, fish weights (without lead), dry beans, marbles; for best results, use objects that are denser than water
- Student Guide Worksheet