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Density Lab

Objectives: To understand the concept of density in relation to the rocks that make up the Earth.

Materials: balance, graduated cylinder, granite, iron and basalt samples, overflow cans

Procedure: Demonstrate how to use the over flow can to determine volume of the samples. Demonstrate how to measure the mass of the samples. Discuss how data should be recorded.

Student task:

  1. Find the mass of each sample, and record.
  2. Find the volume of each sample, and record.
  3. Calculate and record the density of each sample by using the following formula: density = mass / volume.
  4. Clean up the work space and answer the following questions.
  • Would the density of larger samples of basalt have the same or different density? Explain why you gave your answer.
  • Where is each rock type found in the Earth?
  • Using your data what is the average density of the Earth materials you tested? How does that compare to the average density of the Earth?
  • What happens to density of the rocks as you go deeper into the Earth?

Assessment: Performance assessment in finding density of other objects using the same tools.

-- Contributed by Nancy Parson