Metric and Matter activities
Teacher information
Linear measurement
Concept: Linear measurement is the measurement of lines (one dimension).
Background information: When using a ruler you count the SPACES between the lines.
Prefixes: milli thousandths, centi hundredths, deci tenths, kilo thousand
Activities:
 Identify objects which measure approximately : 1 meter, 1 millimeter, 1 centimeter, 1 kilometer (Cognitive, comprehension).
 Identify the meter as the standard linear unit of measurement in the metric system (Cognitive, knowledge).
 Write the values of milli, centi, and kilo (Cognitive, knowledge).
 Measure objects in millimeters, centimeters, and kilometers (Cognitive, comprehension).
Volume
Concept: Volume is the measurement of the amount of space an object occupies. It may be measured in liters and cubic measurement
Background information: Liquids form a meniscus in cylindrical containers. There are two types: concave and convex. Read the scale from the top of a convex meniscus and from the bottom of a concave meniscus.
Activities:
 Identify objects with the volume of one milliliter and one liter (Cognitive, comprehension).
 Identify the liter as the standard unit for volume measurement in the metric system (Cognitive, knowledge).
 Find the volume of objects in milliliters and liters (Cognitive, comprehension).
 Find the volume of objects in cubic centimeters (Cognitive, comprehension).
Mass
Concept: Mass is the measurement of the amount of matter in an object.
Background information: Mass is measured with an equal arm balance. Weight is measured with a spring scale. Mass is not the measurement of gravity. Mass measures the amount of matter occupying a certain space (object in many instances). The gram and the kilogram are metric measures of mass and coincidentally only on Earth weight. Sample problem: If an object on Earth weighs 600 grams its mass would also be 600 grams. If take this object to the moon, along with a spring scale and equal arm balance. It would weigh 100 grams, with the spring scale and 600 grams on the equal arm balance.
Activities:
 Identify objects with the mass of one gram and one kilogram (Cognitive, comprehension).
 Identify the gram as the standard unit for measurement of mass in the metric system (Cognitive, knowledge).
 Find the mass of objects in grams and kilograms (Cognitive, comprehension).
Density
Concept: Density is the relationship of mass to volume.
Background information: Mass of liquids can be found by directly putting the liquid onto an equalarm balance. It may also be found by finding the mass of a container, finding the mass of the container and liquid, and subtracting to find the difference. Volume can be found by submerging the solid in a know volume of water, noticing the increase in the water’s volume and subtracting to find the difference in volume, the volume of the solid object. Liquid volumes can be measured in a graduated cylinder. Caution students about dropping objects into graduated cylinders. They can easily be broken and some objects will get stuck. Also be careful to rinse the containers with soapy water when finished, as some liquids will discolor plastic containers as well as glass (alcohol and plastic). Some solid objects for which to find density are different metal objects like aluminum, lead, copper, and brass, different kinds of rocks, plastic, and glass. Some liquids to find density are water, salt water, glycerin, cooking oil, and alcohol.
Activities:
 Identify objects density as greater than, equal to, or less than one. (Cognitive, comprehension).
 Identify grams per milliliter as a unit for measurement of density in the metric system (Cognitive, knowledge).
 Find the mass of objects in grams and volume in milligrams (Cognitive, comprehension).
 Measure the mass and volume of different volumes of water and calculate its density (Cognitive synthesis).
 Measure the mass and volume of solid objects and calculate their densities (Cognitive synthesis).
 Measure the mass and volume of different liquids and calculate their densities (Cognitive synthesis).
Metric and matter review activities
Linear Measurement
Linear measurement is the distance between two points.
This distance is a line and is in one dimension.
When using a ruler you count the SPACES between the lines.What is the basic linear unit of metric measure? What do each of the prefixes mean? milli centi kilo
Fill in the chart.
1 meter =  millimeters 
1 meter =  centimeters 
meters  = 1 kilometer 
Give an example of something that measures:
1 meter  
1 millimeter  
1 centimeter  
1 kilometer 
Complete the chart
Object Name 
Measure mm  Measure cm  Measure m 
Width of paper 

Length of
paper 

Width of desk 

Length of
desk 

The meter is used for what type of measurement?
Volume
Volume is the measure of the amount of space an object occupies. In the metric system the basic unit of volume is the liter.
Activity 1
Pour some water in a graduated cylinder.
Draw what you observe when you look through the cylinder at the top of the water.
You should have observed a meniscus.
There are two types: concave and convex.
Read the scale from the top of a convex meniscus and from the bottom of a concave meniscus.
Label your drawing from where you should measure.
Activity 2
Measure the volume of three containers.
container 1
container 2
container 3
What is the best metric measure for large bottles of pop?
What is the best metric measure for medicine?
The volume of one small white cube is one cubic cm or one ml.
Activity 3
Place three cubes together what is the volume?
What is the volume of a red cube?
What is the volume of a yellow cube?
What is the volume of an orange cube?
Another way to measure volume is to use linear measurements and calculate the volume with the linear measurement.
How is the volume of the above cubes calculated?
What is the measure for the amount of space an object takes up?
What are two ways of measuring volume in the metric system?
Mass
The gram and the kilogram are metric measures of mass (weight on Earth).
What force are you measuring when you measure weight?
 Mass is not the measurement of this force, it is the amount of matter occupying a certain space.
 Mass may be measured using an equal arm balance.
 Weight may be measured using a spring scale.
What is the difference between these two methods?
Use a balance and record the mass of at least three objects.
Name  Mass  
object 1 

object 2 

object 3 

object 4 
Find and record an object with 1 g mass. What object would have a 1 kg mass?
BRAIN BUSTER: Imagine an object on Earth weighing 600 grams that would also be its mass. Suppose you launch this object to the moon, along with a spring scale and equal arm balance. What readings would you predict?
spring scale equal arm balance
Putting Mass and volume to work
Use one of two methods to measure the mass of 50 ml and 100 ml of water.
Method one: indirect method
Volume of Water  Mass of container  Mass of both  Mass of water 
50 ml 

100 ml 
Method two: direct method
Volume of Water 
Mass of water 
50 ml 

100 ml 
Do the numbers need labels? What pattern did you discover? Use your data and calculate the mass for one ml of water?
Get an object (cube) and find its volume in cubic centimeters two ways.
Method one
Describe how you found the volume.  The volume(did you label it?) 

Method two
Describe how you found the volume.  The volume(did you label it?) 

All of these objects have what two properties?
Density
You have been measuring two properties of matter.
Look back at your data and put the information below.
Mass of 50 ml of water  Volume of 50 ml of water 
How do the values compare? The mass to volume ratio is called density. mass / volume = density Calculate a value with your data.
Look back at your data and put the information below.
Mass of 100 ml of water  Volume of 100 ml of water 
How do the values compare?
The mass to volume ratio is called density.
mass / volume = density
Calculate a value with your data.
How do the values of the densities compare?
What is their mean? or the Class mean?
What does this value suggest about one ml of water?
Use cotton balls and a box to show density of 1 mass/unit
5 mass/unit
10 mass/unit, and
1.5 mass/unit.
Density hunt
QUESTION: What is the density of different matter?
EQUIPMENT: Balance beam, graduated cylinder, several different objects made of different matter, and a good eye.
PROCEDURE: Get different objects and measure their mass and volume. Use this to calculate their density.
RESULTS
Date table
Object  Mass  Volume  Density  Group Mean 
Glass object  
Wood object  
Aluminum object  
100 ml salt water  
100 ml alcohol  
100 ml of oil  
CONCLUSIONS
Density at work
 Steel has a density of 8g/cc and some metals that have magnesium mixed in it (alloys) have a density of 2.5 g/cc. If you build a race car why would you buy wheels built out of magnesium (mag) wheels?
 I conducted an experiment the other day with an egg. I put the egg in tap water and it sunk to the bottom. Next I put the egg into some salt water and it floated. What would be the range of densities for the egg?
 Model airplanes are made of balsa wood. Hhow does the density of balsa wood compare to other woods?
 A device called a hydrometer is used to test car batteries to test the electrical charge. This device has a tube with a round rubber ball on top and a weighted float inside. When you squeeze the rubber ball, place it into a liquid and release the ball. Liquid will be sucked into the tube. The float, which has markings on it, will float in the liquid according to its density. If the battery is full of electricity it will float at a level to show that the density of the liquid is 1.28 g/ml. If the battery doesn’t have enough electricity it will have a density below 1.28 g/ml. If the battery is low on electricity will the float higher or lower than when the battery is fully charged?
 Why do people who fish use lead weights?
 Suppose you have equal volumes of aluminum and wood. Which has more matter packed into it?
BRAIN BUSTER: Archimedes lived in the 3rd century BC, when according to legend, he was consulted by Hiero, King of Syracuse, to find out if his crown was solid gold. The story goes that the king hired a goldsmith to make a crown of solid gold, but either the king wasn’t very trusting or the goldsmith did something to cause the king to distrust him. Any way he called his resident genius, Archimedes, and asked him to prove if the crown was solid gold or if the smith had cheated him by mixing silver with the gold when he made it. Archimedes must of thought long and hard and didn’t come up with an answer until he was getting into his bath. Ah ha, light bulb lights up, and it is told that Archimedes ran through the streets of Syracuse shouting Eureka I have found it. Explain what Archimedes found?
Review
Mass is measured in
Volume may be measured in or
is the amount of space an object occupies.
is the amount of matter in a substance.
Everything in the Universe is made up of
You measured matter and thought of matter as small cotton balls. People have wondered about matter for thousands of years. In the last few hundred years scientists have agreed on a theory of matter being made up of small particles called atoms or molecules. All matter is made of these small particles. As you experiment you will find it helpful to imagine the matter as small particles. For example think of what happens to water (made of small particles) when an aluminum block (made of small particles) is placed into it. First, think about the difference between a solid and a liquid? You know that liquids aren’t held together as well as solids. When you pour water onto a table it flows into a puddle of water. If you put a block of ice on the table it will not flow. Imagine the difference between solids and liquids as the bond of energy between the particles. The picture below shows this. Each line represents one unit of force that holds the particles together. The more lines the harder they hold together.
Now back to the question: What happens when the aluminum block is put in water? Use the pictures to explain.
For more information see Science Curriculum Improvement Study (SCIS, SCIIS, SCIS 3)
Dr. Robert Sweetland's Notes ©