LABS, EXPERIMENTS, HANDS-ON ACTIVITIES!! As a Science teacher, I’m always looking for ways to make Science come alive for my students. My favorite thing to hear is, “Wow, Science is actually really cool!” or “I used to hate Science, but now I love it!” For me, it’s all about showing students how Science is all around us and getting them excited about learning. Being in a digital format for over a year now, I have personally seen the importance and value of hands-on activities. We found ways to be creative with online simulations and digital labs, but NOTHING beats doing a lab in person. We just got the news that my school will be all in person next year, and I am most excited about the return of labs!
Ward’s Science provides Science Olympiad Kits that are perfect for Science labs and STEM activities! I received the Science Olympiad Density Kit, and I was honestly SO blown away. These are the materials that were included:
- canister with cap
- corn syrup
- vegetable oil
- wooden cubes
- plastic cups
- metal cylinders
- foam peanuts
- graduated cylinders
- isopropyl alcohol
- pattern blocks
- plastic ruler
- spring scale
- 3 syringes (5 mL, 10 mL, 60 mL)
On top of ALL THOSE SUPPLIES, they provide suggested activities to complete with the materials provided, introductory explanations and demonstrations, group activities, a density quiz (with answer key), a density student worksheet, and a density data sheet. See what I mean?! BLOWN. AWAY.
I teach 6th grade Earth Science, but you can use this kit for lower and higher grade levels. It’s all about how you use the materials to meet the needs of your students. You can go really in depth with density or you can do a more introductory approach. In 6th grade, we talk about the density on a more surface level. We discuss the formula of density (d=m/v)… just don’t ask middle schoolers “what the ‘d’ stands for”… I learned my lesson. We talk about the density of salt water vs. fresh water, and the density of the layers of the atmosphere. Here are some ideas on how I would use these materials in my classroom…
- Saltwater VS. Freshwater: I would use the salt to create saltwater, and then pour some freshwater into a beaker. We would then test the density of each one by placing different materials into each beaker. (I would add a lot of salt in the water, so we can see more materials float). We could try placing beads, blocks, wooden cubes, cylinders of metal, and the washers. Some follow up questions could be: If the material floats/sinks, what does that tell us about the density of the item and the water? What would happen if we mixed the freshwater and saltwater? I would also add food coloring to each one, and then add the freshwater on top of the saltwater, showing that freshwater is less dense than saltwater.
- Layers of the Atmosphere: I would give students a density chart with different substances (water, corn syrup, vegetable oil, honey, dish soap). They would have to look at the densities and put them in order in a beaker, starting with the one that is most dense to the one that is least dense. Then they would compare each substance to the layer of the atmosphere it represents.
- Introducing Mass & Volume to Describe Density (provided from Ward’s Science): In order to display density, use two containers the same size (mason jars or any wide-mouth jar), sand and water. Explain that both of the jars will hold the same amount of sand or water (the same volume). Fill one jar to the top with dry sand, and then pour a little bit of wet sand into the other jar at a time. Pack the wet sand down and continue the process until it’s as full as the other jar. Using a balance, observe which one has more mass. They will find that the one with the wet sand has more mass. Then ask them to explain why the jar with wet sand seems to have more mass even though they both have the same volume. This can lead to a discussion of density and how mass and volume are related.
There are honestly so many different ways you can use these materials to make learning density fun for your students! Use my code MARTE12 to get 15% off your order, and tell me how you used it! #sponsored