Access Point #: SC.8.P.8.In.3

Observe and compare the density of various materials.
General Information
Number: SC.8.P.8.In.3
Category: Independent
Date Adopted or Revised: 02/08
Big Idea: Properties of Matter : A. All objects and substances in the world are made of matter. Matter has two fundamental properties: matter takes up space and matter has mass which gives it inertia.

B. Objects and substances can be classified by their physical and chemical properties. Mass is the amount of matter (or "stuff") in an object. Weight, on the other hand, is the measure of force of attraction (gravitational force) between an object and Earth.

The concepts of mass and weight are complicated and potentially confusing to elementary students. Hence, the more familiar term of "weight" is recommended for use to stand for both mass and weight in grades K-5. By grades 6-8, students are expected to understand the distinction between mass and weight, and use them appropriately.

Clarification for grades K-2: The use of the more familiar term ‘weight’ instead of the term “mass” is recommended for grades K-2.

Clarification for grades 3-5: In grade 3, introduce the term mass as compared to the term weight. In grade 4, investigate the concept of weight versus mass of objects. In grade 5, discuss why mass (not weight) is used to compare properties of solids, liquids and gases.

Related Benchmarks

This access point is an alternate version of the following benchmark(s).

Related Courses

This access point is part of these courses.
2002100: M/J Comprehensive Science 3
2002110: M/J Comprehensive Science 3, Advanced
2003010: M/J Physical Science
2003020: M/J Physical Science, Advanced
7820017: Access M/J Comprehensive Science 3
2002055: M/J Comprehensive Science 1 Accelerated Honors

Related Resources

Vetted resources educators can use to teach the concepts and skills in this access point.

Lesson Plans

Volume, Mass, and Density Boxes:

This activity was designed for blind learners, but all types of learners can utilize it to investigate volume, mass, and density. The learner will create several boxes with different materials in each. They will then compare the sizes and masses and do the math to figure the densities. Educators could also create a data collection chart for this activity.

Type: Lesson Plan

Density – a relationship of mass and volume:

Students will be able to describe density and compare the densities of various materials using their masses and volumes.

Content statements:

  • Density is the amount of matter filling the object's space.
  • Adding mass to an object without changing its volume, increases the object's density.
  • Objects that have a large mass and small volume have a high density.
  • Objects that have a small mass and a large volume have a low density.

Type: Lesson Plan

Density: A relationship of mass and volume using liquids:

Students will be able to compare and calculate the densities of various materials using their masses and volumes.

Content statements:

- Objects with the same mass but different volumes have different densities.
- Objects with different masses but the same volume have different densities.
- Liquids with different densities can be layered.

Type: Lesson Plan

Teaching Idea

Density of Solid Objects:

A series of straightforward simulations offers students a variety of ways to explore the concepts of mass, volume, and density. Students see that objects of the same mass may not have the same volume, objects of the same volume may not have the same mass, objects having a density greater than that of water sink in water, and the density of a floating object determines the position of the object in a tank of water.

Type: Teaching Idea

Unit/Lesson Sequence

Middle School Chemistry Unit | Chapter 3 | Density:

Students experiment with objects that have the same volume but different mass and other objects that have the same mass but different volume to develop a meaning of density. Students also experiment with density in the context of sinking and floating and look at substances on the molecular level to discover why one substance is more or less dense than another.

Type: Unit/Lesson Sequence

Student Resources

Vetted resources students can use to learn the concepts and skills in this access point.

Parent Resources

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