Get in the Game With Team Densityby: Deborah Herrington and Pamela Scott

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A floating bowling ball? No way! There is no better way to get students' attention and reinforce the need for conceptual understanding than with a discrepant event like this. Density is a central concept in chemistry and physical science from middle school to college. But often, particularly at the high school and college levels, we think students understand density simply because they can solve density problems. In this article, the authors describe an activity in which students explore the relationship among the mass, volume, and density of various sports balls.

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  • on Fri Mar 23, 2012 12:21 PM

Students have many misconceptions in science. Two that are addressed in this article are: the more mass an object has the greater the density regardless of the volume; and objects float because they are light. This article uses various types of balls used in sports (i.e. softball, bowling ball, golf ball and others) to dispel these misconceptions. Students measure the mass and the volume of each ball to calculate density. Student results are presented as well as some great extensions. Using everyday sports equipment to better understand density is a great real world connection for students.

Adah  (San Antonio, TX)
Adah (San Antonio, TX)

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