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Age Range: 7-11
Duration: 30-59 mins
  • Maths
  • Science

Discover mass, volume and density

Finding the density of materials by weighing items and immersing them in water.

The James Webb Space Telescope boasts dimensions equivalent to those of a tennis court. The challenge of launching it into space grows with its increasing weight. Therefore, a grasp of density is essential as lightweight materials will need to be selected for its construction to facilitate its journey into space.

Density is a measure of how much mass is packed into a given volume. A material with a high density has a lot of mass in a small volume, while a material with a low density has less mass in a small volume.We can measure density by weighing an object and then measuring its volume. The density of a material is calculated by dividing its mass by its volume.

In this exciting STEM activity, you will be given a variety of objects made from different materials. You will weigh each object and then measure its volume by immersing it in water. You will then use this information to calculate the density of each object.

Activity to discover mass, volume and density

This activity could be used as a main lesson to teach learners how to collect data through measurement and use number skills in a practical context. It could also be used as one of several activities within a wider scheme of learning, focusing on using maths and science to understand the properties of materials.

How do you calculate density?

Density = Mass / Volume

What is the James Webb Space Telescope?

The James Webb Space Telescope (JWST) is the largest and most powerful telescope ever to be launched into space. It is a monumental leap in space exploration, building on the legacy of the Hubble Space Telescope. The JWST is the next great space science observatory, with a primary mission to unravel the mysteries of the universe. It will address lingering questions and achieve groundbreaking revelations across all fields of astronomy.

With its powerful infrared telescope, the JWST can see much fainter and more distant objects than the Hubble Space Telescope, including stars shrouded in dust clouds, molecules in the atmospheres of other worlds, and light from the first stars and galaxies.

The JWST is equipped with a suite of cutting-edge instruments that will allow it to study the universe in unprecedented detail. These instruments will help us better understand the Solar System, the formation of stars and planets, and the evolution of galaxies. The JWST is a revolutionary telescope that will blaze new trails in exploration. It is already making headlines with its first images, and it is sure to continue to amaze us for years to come.

Suggested learning outcomes

By the end of this activity, students will be able to compare materials based on their density, and they will be able to measure the volume of water and the weight of an object. Students will also learn how to calculate density, and they will be able to communicate measurements using appropriate SI units.

The engineering context

Space Engineers must have a good understanding of density when they load cargo onto a spacecraft. They need to know the density of the materials they are loading to ensure the rockets have enough power to allow the spacecraft to lift off.

Download the free activity sheet below!

All activity sheets and supporting resources are free to download, and all the documents are fully editable so that you can tailor them to your students and your schools’ needs.

The activity sheet includes teacher notes, guidance, helpful web links, and links (where appropriate) to the national curriculum in the four devolved UK nations: England, Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales.

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