Shampoo, Soy Sauce, and the Prince's Pendant: Density for Middle-Level Studentsby: Rebecca Litherland and Meera Chandrasekhar

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This article describes a series of activities that are designed to clear up common student misconceptions regarding the difficult concepts of mass and density at the middle-level. Concept development, problem solving, design, measurement, and quantitative activities are interwoven throughout these lessons. Each set of lessons is designed to conform to one full cycle of the 5E learning model.

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Reviews (2)
  • on Mon Jun 20, 2011 4:53 PM

The authors of this article use the 5E approach to help middle school students understand density and mass. They argue that students have a tendency to be confused by the concept, and it needs to be presented in a different manner that allows the students to relate the concepts to every day life. The article is the authors’ presentation of 4 lessons that are covered in up to 7 class periods. Each lesson offers hands-on science activities and extensions that students can relate to. The experiments in the lessons can also be easily and safely repeated at home. The authors include in their discussion the difference between density and viscosity and introduce the equation for density. By the end of the lessons, students will be able to apply their new understandings of density. The lessons offer the students an opportunity to apply science to every day life.

Michael Rumpf
Michael Rumpf

  • on Thu Dec 29, 2011 9:56 PM

This well written article gives the user a chance to look at the pitfalls and trials found in teaching the concept of density to middle schoolers. I found the 5Es very helpful in laying out a structure of learning benchmarks to hit along the way. I especially liked the wooden steps as these gave me a visual that i know pupils would appreciate in finding the logic for their reasoning in how density differs amongst objects of similar volume. I did find that getting wood of similar sizes somewhat daunting, hope I can come up with these materials at a reasonable cost.

Darrel Tanaka
Darrel Tanaka

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