SC.8.P.8.3

Explore and describe the densities of various materials through measurement of their masses and volumes.
General Information
Subject Area: Science
Grade: 8
Body of Knowledge: Physical Science
Idea: Level 2: Basic Application of Skills & Concepts
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.

Date Adopted or Revised: 02/08
Date of Last Rating: 05/08
Status: State Board Approved
Assessed: Yes

Related Courses

This benchmark is part of these courses.
2002100: M/J Comprehensive Science 3 (Specifically in versions: 2014 - 2015, 2015 - 2022, 2022 and beyond (current))
2002110: M/J Comprehensive Science 3, Advanced (Specifically in versions: 2014 - 2015, 2015 - 2022, 2022 and beyond (current))
2003010: M/J Physical Science (Specifically in versions: 2014 - 2015, 2015 - 2022, 2022 and beyond (current))
2003020: M/J Physical Science, Advanced (Specifically in versions: 2014 - 2015, 2015 - 2022, 2022 and beyond (current))
7820017: Access M/J Comprehensive Science 3 (Specifically in versions: 2014 - 2015, 2015 - 2018, 2018 and beyond (current))
2002055: M/J Comprehensive Science 1 Accelerated Honors (Specifically in versions: 2014 - 2015, 2015 - 2022, 2022 and beyond (current))

Related Access Points

Alternate version of this benchmark for students with significant cognitive disabilities.
SC.8.P.8.Pa.1: Recognize examples of the gaseous state of matter, such as steam or smoke.
SC.8.P.8.In.3: Observe and compare the density of various materials.
SC.8.P.8.Su.3: Recognize that smaller objects can weigh more than bigger objects because of density.

Related Resources

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

Lesson Plans

Stay Afloat in Water:

In this lesson, students will explore the physical characteristics of various liquids, including mass, volume, and density. They will perform a lab and analyze data to determine how liquids with different densities interact in a graduated cylinder.

Type: Lesson Plan

Slope Intercept - Lesson #1:

This is lesson 1 of 3 in the Slope Intercept unit. This lesson introduces graphing proportional relationships. In this lesson students will perform an experiment to find and relate density of two different materials to the constant of proportionality and unit rate.

Type: Lesson Plan

Knight Shipping, Inc.:

In this design challenge students will take what they have learned about calculating the volumes and densities of cones, cylinders, and spheres, to decide which shape would make the best shipping container. Students will calculate the volumes and densities to help select the best design and then test them to move at least 3 containers of the chosen shape across the classroom. Students will fill the shapes with marshmallows to visually confirm which shape would hold more.

Type: Lesson Plan

Scout Robot: Mass, Density, Volume, Weight:

In this MEA, students must select which material to use in the development of an advanced military scout robot. Students must analyze data about each material’s individual properties that would make it a valid choice for military or police service. Students must complete calculations to determine material density as well as the overall mass and weight of the robot. This lesson focuses on the characteristic properties of density, unit conversion, and differentiating between mass and weight.

Model Eliciting Activities, MEAs, are open-ended, interdisciplinary problem-solving activities that are meant to reveal students’ thinking about the concepts embedded in realistic situations. Click here to learn more about MEAs and how they can transform your classroom.

Type: Lesson Plan

Pennies For Thought:

Through this two day lesson, students will learn the concepts of weight, mass, volume, and density, and be able to accurately measure them and understand the relationship between them. They will also be able to calculate a substance's density by taking two points on a graph and applying the rise/run equation.

Day one will include a pre-test to access prior knowledge on the concepts of weight, mass, volume and density. Direct instruction of their definitions along with practice measuring these four properties will be provided in the form of interactive centers.

The hook for day two will be a class demonstration. (You will need a balance, and 50 pennies divided into two separate piles: 25 pennies from the year 1981 and earlier and the other 25 newer than 1982.) The pennies will be measured by placing a penny from each pile on the balance until all the pennies have been placed on the balance; students will observe that as you add more pennies to each side, it becomes unbalanced. Discuss how it is possible to have two equal volumes of pennies be unbalanced using their knowledge of weight, mass, volume and density from the day before.

For the remainder of class, have them explore the relationship between mass, volume and density by measuring and graphing their two sets of pennies. By creating a double line graph of their volume and mass, they will discover that their densities (indicated by the slope in their graph) are different. And that by taking the points on their graph and applying the rise/run equation they can obtain the density of each group of pennies.

To provide enrichment for those that are ready to take it a step further, have them research and compare densities of commonly used metals to discover what their two groups of pennies were composed of and what change was made in 1982 to change the density of the pennies.

Type: Lesson Plan

Density Cube Lab:

Students will find the density of cubes made from different substances and determine if they sink or float.

Type: Lesson Plan

Rainbow Density Lab:

Students make salt water solutions varying in density to create a rainbow in a 10 mL graduated cylinder. Students apply their knowledge of solutes, solvents, solutions, and the properties of density.

Type: Lesson Plan

Density Dilemma:

This lesson is about density and its relationship to sinking and floating. First, previous knowledge will be assessed through a measuring activity of mass, volume, and density. Next, the topic of sinking and floating will be addressed and how they relate to density. Finally, students will undergo an independent activity where they will figure out how to make one object sink, one object float, and one object stay suspended in a liquid. Overall, this lesson contains 4 activities and 2 video clips. It can require 3 or 4 days to complete.

Type: Lesson Plan

Crime Scene Density Lab:

Students will learn about the practical application of density measurement in the context of conducting a crime scene investigation of a break-in at the school.

Type: Lesson Plan

Density of Solids and Liquids:

In this Lab, students create their own definition for the term density and calculate the densities of different substances- solids and liquids. Students will learn that every substance has its own unique density, depending on how tightly atoms or molecules of the materials are packed. Students gather data about known samples to infer the identity of an unknown sample.

Note: This lesson will only cover the density portion of benchmark SC.8.P.8.4

Type: Lesson Plan

Why do things float in water?:

In this lesson, the concept of density is effectively integrated into a lab. The students will understand why certain objects float in water and why others sink. This lesson requires the students to cooperatively work in groups, make predictions, examine data trends, and relate their understanding to real world objects.

Type: Lesson Plan

What's Your Calculator Lid's Maximum Floating Load?:

Students explore and describe the masses, volumes, and densities of various liquids and solid objects while mastering measuring techniques using various apparatuses.

Type: Lesson Plan

What does it mean to be dense?:

Students will use card stock patterns to create two mini-boxes that they can fill with three different substances. The density of each substance will be compared when contained in both the smaller and larger boxes. Students will use their observations to develop an argument describing how the change in volume of the box affected the density of the substance.

SC.8.P.8.4 will not be completely covered; only the physical property of density will be addressed.

Type: Lesson Plan

Discovering Density:

Students observe the effects of density on flotation and develop an understanding of density as the amount mass per unit volume through discussion and experimentation. Students also work in groups to design an experiment to determine the densities of several irregularly shaped objects and use data to support a conclusion about the buoyancy of each object.

Type: Lesson Plan

Discovering Density:

In this lesson students will be asked to measure the volumes and masses of objects to determine their densities. Along the way students are expected to gain a greater understanding of the concept of density and the fact that it is a property of a material independent of an objects shape or volume.

Type: Lesson Plan

Calculating a Mineral's Density:

Students will use the Density=Mass/Volume formula to calculate the density of an unknown mineral. By using water displacement and a triple beam balance students will collect measurements of volume and mass for an unknown mineral. With this data, they will calculate the mineral's density then identify the mineral based on calculated density.

Type: Lesson Plan

Constructing and Calibrating a Hydrometer:

Students construct and calibrate a simple hydrometer using different salt solutions. They then graph their data and determine the density and salinity of an unknown solution using their hydrometer and graphical analysis.

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

Original Student Tutorial

Measuring Amounts of "Stuff": Exploring Density:

Learn to find the density (how many g/cm3) of three different objects, and explain what that number means with this interactive tutorial.

Type: Original Student Tutorial

Perspectives Video: Professional/Enthusiast

Factors Influencing Density of River-recovered Timber:

Coleman Mackie explains how tree density played a role in sinking old-growth timber and how it plays a role in recovery of those trees from Florida rivers.  

Download the CPALMS Perspectives video student note taking guide.

Type: Perspectives Video: Professional/Enthusiast

Perspectives Video: Teaching Ideas

Build a Better Boat with 3D Printing!:

Learn how boat design can become an engineering challenge utilizing 3D printing!

Type: Perspectives Video: Teaching Idea

Neutral Buoyancy Plankton:

This science educator floats a teaching idea about neutral buoyancy and density.

Download the CPALMS Perspectives video student note taking guide.

Type: Perspectives Video: Teaching Idea

Teaching Ideas

Now That is a Dense Graph:

Students will first measure and plot the total mass vs liquid volume in a graduated cylinder. They will then use slope and the mathematical formula for the plot to determine the density of the liquid, the density of a solid added to the liquid, and the mass of the graduated cylinder.

Type: Teaching Idea

Pump Up the Volume:

This activity is a statistical analysis of recorded measurements of a single value - in this case, a partially filled graduated cylinder.

Type: Teaching Idea

Now That is a Dense Graph:

In this activity, the density of ethanol is found by graphical means. In the second part, the density of sodium thiosulfate is found, also by graphical means. The values found are then analyzed statistically.

Type: 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

Text Resource

Will the World's Newest Lightest Material Be Instrumental in Cleaning Up Toxic Oil Spills?:

This informational text resource is intended to support reading in the content area. Chinese researchers recently created a new "lightest solid," an aerogel of carbon nanotubes with a density of 0.16 mg/cm3. Unlike its aerogel predecessors, the substance has practical applications and may prove extremely helpful in cleaning up toxic oil spills.

Type: Text Resource

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

Virtual Manipulatives

Gas Density:


Density is defined as mass per unit volume. Density of the gases is highly affected by the pressure and the temperature. This module simulates the measurement of the density of a gas sample. Different gaseous compounds and elements are available and the pressure and temperature of the sample can be adjusted. Learners will understand that density of an ideal gas can be doubled by doubling the pressure or by halving the temperature.

Type: Virtual Manipulative

Archimedes' Principle:

This virtual manipulative will help the students understand Archimedes' principle which states that the buoyant force is equal to the weight of the displaced fluid. This principle applies to both floating and submerged bodies and to all fluids. With this simulation, students will recognize that, if the body is less dense than the liquid it will float, whereas if a body is denser than the fluid, it will sink.

Type: Virtual Manipulative

Density:

This resource will build the following skills:

  • Describe the relationship of mass and volume to density.
  • Compare objects of same mass and different volume and vice versa.
  • Explain that density of a certain object does not vary with its mass or volume.
  • Measure the volume of an object from fluid displacement.
  • Use density to identify an unknown material.

Type: Virtual Manipulative

Explore Buoyancy:

Explore when objects float and when will they sink. Learn how buoyancy works with blocks by modifying the properties of the blocks and the fluid.

Some of the sample learning goals can be:

  • Predict whether an object wills sink or float when place in a liquid, given densities of the object and liquid.
  • Apply the definition of density to both liquids and solids
  • Relate the buoyant force on an object to the weight of liquid it displaces
  • Predict the weight of a completely or partially submerged object of known mass and volume
  • Describe the forces that act on a completely or partially submerged object
  • Explain how an object that is more dense than water can be kept afloat by placing it on an object that is less dense than water.

Type: Virtual Manipulative

STEM Lessons - Model Eliciting Activity

Scout Robot: Mass, Density, Volume, Weight:

In this MEA, students must select which material to use in the development of an advanced military scout robot. Students must analyze data about each material’s individual properties that would make it a valid choice for military or police service. Students must complete calculations to determine material density as well as the overall mass and weight of the robot. This lesson focuses on the characteristic properties of density, unit conversion, and differentiating between mass and weight.

Model Eliciting Activities, MEAs, are open-ended, interdisciplinary problem-solving activities that are meant to reveal students’ thinking about the concepts embedded in realistic situations. Click here to learn more about MEAs and how they can transform your classroom.

Original Student Tutorials Science - Grades K-8

Measuring Amounts of "Stuff": Exploring Density:

Learn to find the density (how many g/cm3) of three different objects, and explain what that number means with this interactive tutorial.

Student Resources

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

Original Student Tutorial

Measuring Amounts of "Stuff": Exploring Density:

Learn to find the density (how many g/cm3) of three different objects, and explain what that number means with this interactive tutorial.

Type: Original Student Tutorial

Virtual Manipulatives

Gas Density:


Density is defined as mass per unit volume. Density of the gases is highly affected by the pressure and the temperature. This module simulates the measurement of the density of a gas sample. Different gaseous compounds and elements are available and the pressure and temperature of the sample can be adjusted. Learners will understand that density of an ideal gas can be doubled by doubling the pressure or by halving the temperature.

Type: Virtual Manipulative

Density:

This resource will build the following skills:

  • Describe the relationship of mass and volume to density.
  • Compare objects of same mass and different volume and vice versa.
  • Explain that density of a certain object does not vary with its mass or volume.
  • Measure the volume of an object from fluid displacement.
  • Use density to identify an unknown material.

Type: Virtual Manipulative

Explore Buoyancy:

Explore when objects float and when will they sink. Learn how buoyancy works with blocks by modifying the properties of the blocks and the fluid.

Some of the sample learning goals can be:

  • Predict whether an object wills sink or float when place in a liquid, given densities of the object and liquid.
  • Apply the definition of density to both liquids and solids
  • Relate the buoyant force on an object to the weight of liquid it displaces
  • Predict the weight of a completely or partially submerged object of known mass and volume
  • Describe the forces that act on a completely or partially submerged object
  • Explain how an object that is more dense than water can be kept afloat by placing it on an object that is less dense than water.

Type: Virtual Manipulative

Parent Resources

Vetted resources caregivers can use to help students learn the concepts and skills in this benchmark.

Perspectives Video: Teaching Idea

Neutral Buoyancy Plankton:

This science educator floats a teaching idea about neutral buoyancy and density.

Download the CPALMS Perspectives video student note taking guide.

Type: Perspectives Video: Teaching Idea

Virtual Manipulatives

Gas Density:


Density is defined as mass per unit volume. Density of the gases is highly affected by the pressure and the temperature. This module simulates the measurement of the density of a gas sample. Different gaseous compounds and elements are available and the pressure and temperature of the sample can be adjusted. Learners will understand that density of an ideal gas can be doubled by doubling the pressure or by halving the temperature.

Type: Virtual Manipulative

Archimedes' Principle:

This virtual manipulative will help the students understand Archimedes' principle which states that the buoyant force is equal to the weight of the displaced fluid. This principle applies to both floating and submerged bodies and to all fluids. With this simulation, students will recognize that, if the body is less dense than the liquid it will float, whereas if a body is denser than the fluid, it will sink.

Type: Virtual Manipulative

Density:

This resource will build the following skills:

  • Describe the relationship of mass and volume to density.
  • Compare objects of same mass and different volume and vice versa.
  • Explain that density of a certain object does not vary with its mass or volume.
  • Measure the volume of an object from fluid displacement.
  • Use density to identify an unknown material.

Type: Virtual Manipulative

Explore Buoyancy:

Explore when objects float and when will they sink. Learn how buoyancy works with blocks by modifying the properties of the blocks and the fluid.

Some of the sample learning goals can be:

  • Predict whether an object wills sink or float when place in a liquid, given densities of the object and liquid.
  • Apply the definition of density to both liquids and solids
  • Relate the buoyant force on an object to the weight of liquid it displaces
  • Predict the weight of a completely or partially submerged object of known mass and volume
  • Describe the forces that act on a completely or partially submerged object
  • Explain how an object that is more dense than water can be kept afloat by placing it on an object that is less dense than water.

Type: Virtual Manipulative