Forums / Elementary Science / Density Lesson for Elementary

Elementary Science

Density Lesson for Elementary

Author Post
Anicia Rodriguez Anicia Rodriguez 365 Points

Hi community! 

I am a student teacher wondering if I could get a little bit of assistance from you all. I did a 5E lesson over density. My 3rd grade students engaged in an exploration of two different stations that contained different objects to test to see if they were less dense or more dense than water. Their prior knowledge of density came from the literature text 'Things That Float and Things That Don't'. They enjoyed the book and it motivated them to explore on their own about the density. For my elaborate portion of this lesson, I showed them a video of the '7 Layers of Density' and they loved it! If I wanted to teach them a lesson about the density of liquids, what are some other ways I could engage them again without showing them another video? 

Thank you for taking your time in reading this.

Warm hugs,

Anicia Rodriguez

Mary Bigelow Mary Bigelow 10275 Points

Hi Anicia!

Using the 5E format is a good way to organize a lesson. In addition to the video, which intrigued the students, you could go on to a similar hands-on investigation in the classroom. The lesson Comparing the Densities of Different Liquids could be adapted for 3rd grade for students to see for themselves that liquids have different densities. This activity, from the American Chemical Society, could be done by small groups of students or as a large group demonstration. If you would do this as a demonstration, I would involve as many students as possible in the measuring, pouring, and analysis, rather than you as the teacher doing all of the work! 

Mary B

Ashley Jacobs Ashley Jacobs 80 Points


I think this is a great lesson, I think by adding something hands on would be perfect and it would keep them engaged. I know im currently working on putting together a lesson with density, I found a rainbow sugar water activity that  be fun. The concept is to make a rainbow out of sugar water and you do so by adding more sugar to each layer of colors to make them more dense and this activity is pretty cheap! You could also make some sort of chart to!


Ashley Jacobs

Pre-Service Teacher

Wartburg College

Lisa Ann Nishihara Lisa Ann Nishihara 780 Points

Hi Anicia!

Here are some books I found on Epic.

What Floats?  What Sinks?:  A Look At Density by:  Jennifer Boothroyd,

Floating or Sinking  by:  Julie K. Lundgren

Discovering Science Making Things Float and Sink  by:  Gary Gibson

Candy Experiments  by:  Loralee Leavitt (This book contained cool experiments with candy and densty.)

I hope these resources can be of help to you!

Sandra Yarema Sandy Yarema 2920 Points

5E format is a great way to address a lesson. To elaborate, you could have students construct a density column of different liquids in a graduated cylinder or vase. Have them predict the order each liquid will appear in the column by measuring the mass of equal volumes of each liquid before adding it to the cylinder. They can also predict where various solids will end up in the column when floating in the cylinder.

Jen Gutierrez Jennifer Gutierrez 1920 Points

Hi Anicia :)

So it sounds like the interest is definitely there and they're building some new understanding, yay!! I think the investigation Comparing the Densities of Different Liquids that Mary shared (she even gave wonderful suggestions how to modify it for your 3rd grade peeps) is a fantastic way to engage them in the next part of this unit. You may also want to consider what science & engineering practices and the specific elements you want students engaging in to help them with sense making. I love using and sharing with teachers because it's a great tool to help you identify specifically what you want your kiddos doing. As you let your students do some exploring and explaining on their own this will help determine what gaps you may need to fill in as you support their understanding. As others in the tread have shared, that is the beauty of the 5Es Instructional Model and the power of the science & engineering practices. It really allows the students to do the heavy lifting!

I hope that helps some- jen

Post Reply

Forum content is subject to the same rules as NSTA List Serves. Rules and disclaimers