What is volume?

What is volume?


Matter is anything or any material that exists. Matter occupies space and has mass.

Mass is the measure of the “stuff” of matter. Volume measures the space that matter occupies. Density measures how much “stuff” is in how much “space” or how tightly compacted matter is.

Measuring volume isn’t always easy. Some objects have regular or uniform shapes. The volume of these objects can usually be measured with a formula.

Other objects have irregular shapes. Their “space” or volume is often measured by a system called water displacement. A certain amount of water is placed in a container and the height of the water is marked. The “irregular” object is put into the water, and the object causes the water line to rise. This new water level is marked. When the object is removed from the water, the water line goes back to its original place. Measuring how much water is needed to meet the raised water line tells you the volume of the irregular object. The difference between the first line and the raised line measures the volume of the object.

We measure liquid volume by using special tools. Measuring cups, easily found in most kitchens, measure liquid volume. Scientists measure liquid volume in graduated cylinders that have units that are marked in milliliters and liters.

Activities



What is volume?

National Science Standards:

Content Standard A: Science As Inquiry
Content Standard D: Properties of Earth Materials

These activities demonstrate how to determine the volume of objects.

*NOTE: Activities increase in diffulculty. Educators/Parents may want to work through all activities or choose those most appropriate for their students/children.

(BACKGROUND INFORMATION)
Facts we already know about volume:

  • Volume is the amount of space an object takes up.
  • We can measure the volume of any object by measuring it or placing it in water

Activity One – Measuring Volume

You will recreate the activity conducted by the computer in the video newsbreak to demonstrate that two containers of very different sizes can have the same volume.

BEST choice: a 100-ml graduated cylinder and a 100-ml beaker; you can use 2 measuring cups of different shapes (one tall and one wide); 2 identical clear containers (such as glasses or jars)

STEPS 1–5 are for using a graduated cylinder and a beaker.
STEPS 6–10 are for using 2 measuring cups.

  1. Pour 50 ml of water into the graduated cylinder and the beaker. Check the heights (levels).
  2. Compare the height of the water in each container.
  3. Pour water from the graduated cylinder into one of the containers.
  4. Pour water from the beaker into the second container.
  5. Compare the height of water in both containers. They should be equal.
  6. Pour 1 cup of water into each measuring cup.
  7. Compare the height of the water in each container.
  8. Pour water from one measuring cup into one of the containers.
  9. Pour water from the other measuring cup into the second container.
  10. Compare the height of water in both containers. They should be equal.

Activity Two – Spheres

three balls (beach ball, basketball, tennis ball); (per student) paper, crayons, or markers

  1. Look at the three balls (beach ball, basketball, tennis ball) in your room.
  2. Draw and color a picture of each ball on your paper.
  3. Write SMALL beside the smallest ball and LARGE beside the largest ball. Write MEDIUM beside the third ball.
  4. Write the word VOLUME under or beside SMALL, MEDIUM, and LARGE.
  5. You have discovered that larger objects usually have more volume than smaller objects. The larger ball takes up more space, which means it has more VOLUME.



FOLLOW-UP DISCUSSION

Some people believe that two objects that are the same size but have different weights must have different volumes. That is not correct. Remember: volume is how much space an object takes up. Weight will not make two objects that are the same size have different volumes.

Activity Three – Increased Volume

(per student or team of students) aluminum foil, ruler, unpopped popcorn kernels, air popper

  1. Count out 25 unpopped popcorn kernels. Place them in a pile on a sheet of aluminum foil.
  2. Measure the amount of space these kernels take up. Use your ruler to measure the height of your pile of kernels. You will also measure the length and width of the popcorn kernels on your aluminum foil. (The amount of space taken up is the volume of the unpopped kernels.)
  3. Place the kernels in the air popper. Turn on the popper.
  4. Once all kernels have popped, empty the popped popcorn onto the same sheet of aluminum foil.
  5. Measure the amount of space these popped kernels take up. Use your ruler to measure the height of your pile of popped popcorn. You will also measure the length and width of the popped popcorn on your aluminum foil. (The amount of space taken up is the volume of the popped popcorn.)



EXTENSION ACTIVITY

Try the same activity with ramen noodles. Discover whether the volume changes after they are cooked. Determine whether there are other foods that can be used for this activity.

Activity Four – Water Displacement

(per student or team of students) ruler, cube, small rock, marble, water, graduated cylinder

  1. Measure the length, width, and height of the cube.
  2. Measure the length, width, and height of the rock and the marble.
  3. Obviously, it is not easy to measure the length, width, and height of an object that does not have a shape like the cube.
  4. The best way to determine the volume of this type of object is to see how much water it displaces (pushes aside).
  5. Measure 25 ml of water into your graduated cylinder.
  6. Drop the small rock into the cylinder. The water should move upward to a new height.
  7. Conduct the same activity with the marble.

EXTENSION ACTIVITY

Determine the volume for other objects. Determine which objects you can measure with the ruler and which objects you should place in water.
How can you measure the volume of objects like your hand?

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

MATH RESOURCES FOR EDUCATIONAL EXCELLENCE