September 29th, 2021

Middle School Resource: Density by PhET

Middle School Resource

Density by PhET

This simulation will allow students to create a custom object to explore the effects of mass and volume on density, use the scale to measure the mass of an object, then hold the object under water to measure its volume. Students might explore the following questions:

  • Why do objects like wood float in water?
  • Does it depend on size?
  • Can you discover the relationship?
  • Can you identify all the mystery objects?

Using the simulation, students will:

  • Describe how the concept of density relates to an object’s mass and volume.
  • Explain how objects of similar mass can have differing volume, and how objects of similar volume can have differing mass.
  • Explain why changing an object’s mass or volume does not affect its density (ie, understand density as an intensive property).
  • Measure the volume of an object by observing the amount of fluid it displaces.
  • Identify an unknown material by calculating its density and comparing to a table of known densities.

Related NY State Academic Standards: MST4.I.PS3.1, MST4.I.PS3.1h, and MST4.I.PS3.1i!

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