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content provider: the Nuffield Curriculum Centre
written by the Nuffield Curriculum Centre
This is a set of nine experiments that introduce students to the concept of density and provide practice in measuring it. Many students have difficulty understanding density as a quantity derived from mass and volume. Learners often enter college with deeply-entrenched misconceptions, such as the erroneous idea that gases have no mass. These classroom labs were developed to promote correct ideas of density, and to demonstrate differing techniques for measuring density in solids, liquids, and gases.

Specific topics include: density of regular solid shapes, measuring density and weight of liquids, measuring the average density of a student, weighing a sample of air, and more.

This item is part of a much larger collection of physics/astronomy experiments, sponsored by the UK's Institute of Physics and funded by the Nuffield Curriculum Centre.  
SEE RELATED ITEMS BELOW for a link to the full collection.
Subjects Levels Resource Types
Education Practices
- Active Learning
= Cooperative Learning
Fluid Mechanics
- Statics of Fluids
= Density and Buoyancy
General Physics
- Properties of Matter
- Middle School
- High School
- Instructional Material
= Activity
= Laboratory
= Lesson/Lesson Plan
Intended Users Formats Ratings
- Learners
- Educators
- text/html
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Safety Warnings
Minimal Danger   No Safety Equipment Necessary  

Access Rights:
Free access
© 2006 The Nuffield Foundation
Additional information is available.
density experiments, density labs, derived quantities, hands-on, measurement, physical quantities, practical physics
Record Cloner:
Metadata instance created February 9, 2011 by Caroline Hall
Record Updated:
August 16, 2020 by Lyle Barbato
Last Update
when Cataloged:
June 9, 2010
Other Collections:

AAAS Benchmark Alignments (2008 Version)

1. The Nature of Science

1B. Scientific Inquiry
  • 6-8: 1B/M1b. Scientific investigations usually involve the collection of relevant data, the use of logical reasoning, and the application of imagination in devising hypotheses and explanations to make sense of the collected data.

4. The Physical Setting

4D. The Structure of Matter
  • 6-8: 4D/M2. Equal volumes of different materials usually have different masses.
  • 6-8: 4D/M3ab. Atoms and molecules are perpetually in motion. Increased temperature means greater average energy of motion, so most substances expand when heated.
  • 6-8: 4D/M8. Most substances can exist as a solid, liquid, or gas depending on temperature.
  • 6-8: 4D/M10. A substance has characteristic properties such as density, a boiling point, and solubility, all of which are independent of the amount of the substance and can be used to identify it.

12. Habits of Mind

12B. Computation and Estimation
  • 6-8: 12B/M3. Calculate the circumferences and areas of rectangles, triangles, and circles, and the volumes of rectangular solids.
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Nuffield Curriculum Centre, (2006), WWW Document, (
Nuffield Curriculum Centre, Practical Physics: Measuring Density, (2006), <>.
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Nuffield Curriculum Centre. (2010, June 9). Practical Physics: Measuring Density. Retrieved April 10, 2021, from
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Nuffield Curriculum Centre. Practical Physics: Measuring Density. June 9, 2010. (accessed 10 April 2021).
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Nuffield Curriculum Centre. Practical Physics: Measuring Density. 2006. 9 June 2010. Nuffield Curriculum Centre. 10 Apr. 2021 <>.
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@misc{ Author = "Nuffield Curriculum Centre", Title = {Practical Physics: Measuring Density}, Volume = {2021}, Number = {10 April 2021}, Month = {June 9, 2010}, Year = {2006} }
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%Q Nuffield Curriculum Centre
%T Practical Physics: Measuring Density
%D June 9, 2010
%O text/html

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%0 Electronic Source
%A Nuffield Curriculum Centre,
%D June 9, 2010
%T Practical Physics: Measuring Density
%V 2021
%N 10 April 2021
%8 June 9, 2010
%9 text/html

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Practical Physics: Measuring Density:

Is Part Of Practical Physics

A link to the full collection of experiments developed by the Practical Physics organization.

relation by Caroline Hall

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