1 class periods of 45 minutes each
Students use a balance and make predictions about heavier and
lighter objects. Students also use a graduated cylinder and compare how the
same volume of water looks to be a different amount when poured into different
sized containers. Data recording could be done in a large group setting with an adult facilitator or with helpers at each station.
- One balance per group of students. 1 g mass cubes from enasco.com
TB16755M Set of 500 for $12.50.
- Assorted objects to measure mass. About 15 20 objects per group and it is
easiest to make them all the same objects for each group.
- One 100 ml graduated cylinder per student, if possible. If not, students can
share them in groups. These can be purchased in plastic from many different
vendors. Carolina.com 721613 $1.90 each.
- 500 ml Wash bottles, one per student, if possible. If not, students can share
them in groups. Carolina.com 716594. $4.45 each. May be cheaper from other
- 6-10 different plastic containers per group. Make them different sizes in
height and width.
- 1 bucket per group to put the waste water in.
Background for Teachers
Students need to become comfortable using science tools. In this lab, a
balance, wash bottle (squeezable bottle with a straw) and graduated cylinder will be introduced. Students will
make many different predictions during the lab. It is critical that students learn
at the earliest age that making predictions is not a right and wrong process and
incorrect answers are acceptable. This needs to be reinforced constantly
Intended Learning Outcomes
- Framing questions. Conducting investigations. Collecting data.
- Developing social interaction skills with peers. Sharing ideas with
peers. Connecting ideas with reasons.
- Ideas are supported by reasons. Communication of ideas in
science is important for helping to check the reasons for ideas.
Ask the students if they are scientists. Tell them they are and scientists need to learn how to use science tools. Show them the balance and graduated cylinder and go over the names with them. Talk to students about what a prediction is and that there are no wrong predictions in science.
Using a balance: This activity is done at each table as a group.
- Show the students a balance and have them predict how it works.
- Have students take turns picking up two objects and testing them in their
hands. They should predict which is heavier and then try it out on the balance.
Be sure that students are put at ease when their predictions are incorrect.
- After a couple of turns at this, have the students as a group, measure the
mass of an object using the balance and gram cubes.
Using a Graduated Cylinder:
- Discuss the purpose of measuring liquids in a science lab.
- Ask the students to measure different amounts of water in units of 10.
Students can use a wash bottle to fill the graduated cylinder to the designated
- After they measure, they can transfer the liquid to different size containers
and observe that the same amount of liquid looks different in different shaped
containers. Have them predict what will happen as they transfer the liquids from
container to container.
- Students can empty their container of water into a bucket and then measure
a new volume and pour it into a different container.
Rio Tinto Hands-on Science Curriculum Team
- Ms. Rae Louie Administrator, Principal Beacon Heights Elementary
- Emily Mortensen Grant writer, teacher outreach, 2nd grade teacher at Beacon Heights Elementary
- Ruth Li Curriculum design, K-6 Science Educator at Indian Hills Elementary
- Deirdre Straight Curriculum development, K-6 Science Educator at Beacon Heights Elementary
- Tim Rausch Website development, Library Media at Beacon Heights Elementary