Density of Solids

After reading the book Archimedes Takes a Bath, by Joan Lexau we decided to do some density experiments. In the book Archimedes is challenged to determine whether or not the kings goldsmith stole some of the gold he was given to make a new crown. Throughout the story Archimedes is often so focused on his work he forgets to do normal things like eat and bathe. A young boy even has the job of ensuring Archimedes takes care of himself. During the course of the entertaining story he eventually discovers the key to determining if the gold was stolen. - Density.
Density is mass divided by volume - d=m/V - It's simple to measure and calculate. We determined the density of pennies, dry beans, glass and an orange.

First the objects were weighed to determine their mass in grams. Then they were submerged in water to determine their volume in milliliters (ml). The volume of liquid was measured alone, and then with the solid. The two numbers were subtracted to determine the volume of the solid alone. One milliliter is equal to one cubic centimeter. The density of water is one g/cm^3.

Next the mass was divided by volume. We found that pennies were the most dense object we measured. Doing this hands-on experiment was simple, fun, and effective. Now the age old question of "What weighs more a pound of cotton or a pound of bricks?" has a little more meaning.

This post is linked to:
Manic Monday
Montessori Monday
Monday Kid Corner
Relentlessly Fun
Adventures in Mommydom
Hip Homeschool Hop


  1. I think you have inspired me to do some physics experiments this year as well as the chemistry I had planned. I love your book connections.

  2. I love the way you did this around the book, too. Definitely my kind of homeschooling. Thanks for the inspiration.

  3. Very clever, especially since I think you are in Germany and have scales and beakers in metric system :)

    1. Metric vs English units.... When I grew up we learned both in school, but used English at home. Here we use both at home and both in school. When we asked to borrow a tape measure from our landlord they naturally gave us a metric one. It looks a little different, but works just fine. Temperatures in the car and on the radio are stated in degrees C so we have learned a quick way to convert. After 4 years we don't need to convert. We know that a 30 degree day means hot!

    2. At school in England I learned only metric measurements and in keeping with European law everything here is sold in metric weight and volume, but in conversation everyone uses imperial (bizarrely, our name for what I gather from you, Julie, is called "English" in the US). eg we all speak of heights in feet and inches and babies' weights in pounds. When I had my first job in a delicatessen at 15 I had to quickly get up to speed with pounds and ounces.
      I like that because we homeschool I can teach my children both systems.

    3. Yes that's good and funny too.

  4. Now what would be the excuse for why my kids forget to take baths?

  5. Thank you for posting this on the Math Monday Math/Lit link!!


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