Dual-Density Discrepancies: Ice Is Nice and Sugar Is Sweetby: Thomas O'Brien

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Seemingly identical crystalline cubes (ice versus halite crystals) are observed to either sink or float in two seemingly identical clear, colorless liquids (ethanol and water). Also, a handful of sugar cubes are observed to sink in a container of hot water; most dissolve, but several unexpectedly float to the top. Science discrepant events, magic tricks, and a little visual subterfuge can be used to challenge students’ abilities to make careful empirical observations, logical arguments, and skeptical review (i.e., predict-observe-explain) while simultaneously probing their conceptual understanding of FUNdaMENTAL concepts such as density.

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Reviews (1)
  • on Sat Oct 25, 2014 11:40 PM

This chapter of More Brain Powered Science by Thomas O'Brien has great detailed experiments showing the discrepancy of the density of different liquids. The experiments involve some tricking of the students in order to prove a point. Because of this I would say that these experiments are definitely more for upper elementary or middle school. Also I thought some of the explanations might be a little complicated for students to understand so they may need to be adjusted for grade level. These experiments would be fun to do in the classroom.

David Robinson  (Arnold, MD)
David Robinson (Arnold, MD)

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