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Ward's World Density Columns Activity

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Page 1 Density Columns Recommended Grade Level(s): Appropriate for: Middle school and High school Time Requirements: Activity Time: 30 minutes Teaching Topics & Concepts: • Density, mass, separation methods, solubility, diffusion, immiscibility, hydrophobicity. Background: Walking down the salad dressing aisle at the grocery store, you may notice some of the bottles' content looks different from the others. The vinaigrettes have layers of oil and vinegar that just don't mix. As you walk out to the store parking lot, you may spot a few drops of motor oil shimmering on puddles of water. Both examples are real-world observations of the density and mass of substances. These concepts are critical for various fields, including engineering and technology for applications like ships and submarines, oil spills, plumbing, and airplane weight distribution. In this activity, students can demonstrate the concept of density by making a density column that can determine the relative densities of several solid objects. Materials: • Syrup (brown) or light corn syrup • Dishwashing detergent (green) • Water (colored red with food coloring) • Vegetable oil (yellow) • Ethanol (colored blue with food coloring) • 250 mL glass graduated cylinder • Small ice cube • Small cork • Small piece of chalk + ward ' s science Safety • Read the SDS sheets for all chemicals before using them. • Adult supervision required when handling chemicals. • Wear safety glasses, gloves, and a lab coat. • Ethanol is highly volatile and flammable. Ensure no open flames are present (candle, Bunsen burner). • Avoid inhalation of ethanol vapors. !

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