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* *Reflection: Developing a Conceptual Understanding
Density Part 3: Calculating Density of Cubes - Section 4: Check for Understanding

I have developed a deep appreciation for using Crosscutting Concepts in my classes over the past several months. In particular, how **patterns** can be used to help students make connections between various data sets that revolve around the same standards.

Crosscutting Concepts are referred to as the 'unsung heroes' of the NGSS, because they intentionally link topics that would potentially be skipped otherwise. How many times have you ever had a lesson where you had a great conversation with your class -- that time when you ditched the lesson plan and let the students discuss connections. You were incorporating Crosscutting Concepts!

I bet if you went back to the conversation and then compared it to the list of CCCs, you would see that several of them were being incorporated. Now that we are venturing into this world of integrated learning for deeper conceptual understanding, we need to plan to incorporate specific moments when students are asked to specifically connect two topics together. As a result, students will see that they are learning topics for a reason and that everything--especially in science--relates to everything else. Crosscutting Concepts make that a reality and should be celebrated as the 'unsung heroes!'

*Using Crosscutting Concepts to Deepen Understanding*

*Developing a Conceptual Understanding: Using Crosscutting Concepts to Deepen Understanding*

# Density Part 3: Calculating Density of Cubes

Lesson 3 of 8

## Objective: SWBAT measure the mass and volume of objects to calculate density.

#### Do Now

*5 min*

In this lesson students are deepening their understanding of MS-PS1-1 and developing mathematical reasoning skills (MP 2). I utilize the Do Now to have kids recall the definition that we started to develop yesterday, asking students to continue to define *density*, based on our previous classroom activities' learning outcomes. Even if they cannot define density clearly, I want them to at least acknowledge that mass and density are involved.

We will then review as a class and I introduce today's station activity and how it will run.

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I set up 6 stations (that's the number of groups that I have established in my classes) with one cube at each station. Each station also has a triple beam balance and a metric ruler. Students are asked to determine the cube's mass and measure it to calculate the volume of each cube. They use the information to calculate the density of the cube present at each station.

Prior to setting students free, I lead a short discussion to review how to use a triple beam balance and calculating the volume of a prism.

I then state that each group has approximately 5 minutes at each station, and I will let them know when it is time to transition to the next group. As they are generally slower on the first station rotation, I tend to give them a bit more time as they are getting started. I tell them that their signal to let me know that their group is done is to sit quietly reading their independent reading book. At the very least, their goal is to measure the 3 sides and mass of the cube. Later, they can use that information to calculate the density of each cube.

Students are expected to complete pages 164-165 from the What is Density? Activity Sheet. **Note:** I pick 6 of the 8 cubes.

#### Resources

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#### Students Calculate Density

*15 min*

Now that students have the required data to calculate density, I ask them to recall what the activity where they constructed fictitious matter inside of a cube. I then ask, *"Based on the mass and volume measurements that you have on your paper, why do you think that some objects will be more or less dense than others?"*

I am trying to elicit student thinking to connect that the amount of matter in a volume determines the density of an object. To help them to make that connection, I have them predict which cubes will be more dense than the other before they actually calculate density.

I then tell them that to use the formula D=M/V to calculate density and model the calculation steps as an example.

This is one way to help your students remember the formula for calculating density:

Help Remembering Density Formula

Mass=10 grams and Volume=2 cm cubed

10/2=5 g/cm cubed

To help connect to yesterday's lesson, I demonstrate how you can visually model what our calculations show with models. I proceed to state that if each cube is 1 cubic centimeter then there would be 5 grams worth of matter in each cube.

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#### Check for Understanding

*5 min*

As students are wrapping up their lab and beginning to clean up, I am circulating around the room and checking student progress. I want to begin hearing them discuss the relationship of volume and mass in determining density, in addition to hearing them explain what the matter might look like at the molecular level. I ask questions that get them thinking about the relationship between mass and volume for the different samples.

I may ask: "What might explain why cube 1 is more dense than cube 3?" In their response, I can quickly determine where they may be faulting--are they struggling with the density calculation itself? Are they struggling with the visual representation aspect of explaining density? Some students are still struggling to grasp volume versus mass, so this is a great time to have discussions with groups or individuals within a group who may need some help.

This is a great opportunity to tie in the Crosscutting Concepts of patterns and structure and function. As you walk around the room ask groups to rank the cubes from highest to lowest mass. They can then see if there are any patterns with high mass to higher density. They can then explain this from a structure and function standpoint. In that, students will see that the higher the density, the more mass it will have, which most likely means the matter that makes it up either has a lot of mass per unit and/or the matter is tightly packed.

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##### Similar Lessons

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- LESSON 1: Introduction to Density (Without Calling It Density)
- LESSON 2: Density Part 2: The Role of Volume in Determining the Density of Objects
- LESSON 3: Density Part 3: Calculating Density of Cubes
- LESSON 4: Density Using Water Displacement to Measure Irregular Solids of the Same Matter
- LESSON 5: Using PhET Simulation to Test Sinking and Floating for Solids (Day 1)
- LESSON 6: Using PhET Simulation Observations and Data to Find Patterns and Make Evidence-based Arguments About Density (Day 2)
- LESSON 7: Density Day 3 or 4: Making Density Visual With Particle Model Drawings
- LESSON 8: Density: The Wax Mystery