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Relative Density


Relative Density

TEKS Objective

Students will classify matter based on physical properties, including mass, magnetism, physical state (solid, liquid, and gas), relative density (sinking and floating), solubility in water, and the ability to conduct or insulate thermal energy or electric energy.

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Essential Understanding

The student knows that (1) matter has measurable physical properties and (2) those properties determine how matter is classified, changed and used.

Science Background

Density and Floating: Ask a Scientist (website) - A scientist from the Department of Energy answers the questions, Why do ice cubes float in water? and Why doesn’t the Ivory soap sink?

Density and Floating
Ask a Scientist,

Signature Lesson

Sink It: Science NetLinks (website) - Students develop experimental design skills within the context of a familiar event (floating and sinking), while furthering their understanding of density and buoyancy.

Sink It
Science NetLinks,

Supporting Lessons

Buoyant Boats: Science NetLinks (website) - In this lesson, students design and construct boats out of aluminum foil and a few other simple materials. Students test their boats in a pool of water, and add mass until the boats sink.

Buoyant Boats
Science Netlinks,

Mystery Canisters: The Science Spot (PDF) - Scroll to Lesson 4 (Density), follow the instructions for the “Mystery Canisters” investigation and download the accompanying PDF. This lab challenges students to modify three film canisters to produce one that floats, one that sinks, and one that remains suspended in a tub of tap water.

Mystery Canisters
The Science Spot,

Elaboration Lessons and Extensions

Does Soap Float? Science NetLinks (website) - Students will form hypotheses and conduct investigations designed to answer a central question: Does soap float?

Does Soap Float?
Science Netlinks,

Sink, Float, Hover; Design a Submarine: Chicago Museum of Science and Industry (website) - Students apply their knowledge of density and buoyancy to design a submarine that is able to sink, hover and float.

Sink, Float, Hover
Chicago Museum of Science and Industry,

Assessment Ideas

Sink It: Science NetLinks (website) - Assessment activities described at the bottom of the page include presentations, discussion, higher-level thinking and vocabulary.

Sink It
Science Netlinks,

Literature Connections

What Floats? What Sinks? A Look at Density. Boothroyd, J. (ISBN-13: 978-0761360551)

What Is Density? Barkan, Joanne (ISBN-13: 978-0516246604)

Will It Float or Sink? Stewart, Melissa (ISBN-13: 978-0516237374)

Related Science TEKS

(5.1A) Science Safety
The student is expected to demonstrate safe practices and the use of safety equipment as described in the Texas Safety Standards during classroom and outdoor investigations.

(5.1B) Recycling/Disposal of Science Materials
The student is expected to make informed choices in the conservation, disposal, and recycling of materials.

(5.2B) Ask Questions, Formulate a Hypothesis
The student is expected to ask well-defined questions, formulate testable hypotheses, and select and use appropriate equipment and technology.

(5.2C) Collect Data
The student is expected to collect information by detailed observations and accurate measuring.

(5.2D) Analyze Evidence and Explain
The student is expected to analyze and interpret information to construct reasonable explanations from direct (observable) and indirect (inferred) evidence.

(5.2F) Communicate Conclusions
The student is expected to communicate valid conclusions in both written and verbal forms.

(5.2G) Graphs, Tables, Charts
The student is expected to construct appropriate simple graphs, tables, maps, and charts using technology, including computers, to organize, examine, and evaluate information.

(5.4A) Tools for Collecting and Analyzing Information
The student is expected to collect, record, and analyze information using tools, including calculators, microscopes, cameras, computers, hand lenses, metric rulers, Celsius thermometers, prisms, mirrors, pan balances, triple beam balances, spring scales, graduated cylinders, beakers, hot plates, meter sticks, magnets, collecting nets, and notebooks; timing devices, including clocks and stopwatches; and materials to support observations of habitats or organisms such as terrariums and aquariums.

(5.4B) Safety Equipment
The student is expected to use safety equipment, including safety goggles and gloves.

Related Math TEKS

(5.14D) The student is expected to use tools such as real objects, manipulatives, and technology to solve problems.

(5.15A) The student is expected to explain and record observations using objects, words, pictures, numbers, and technology.

Additional Resources

Density Lesson: Uteach (pdf) - Inquiry-based 5-E lesson exploring density.

Density Lesson

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