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ERIC Number: EJ828689
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2009-Feb
Pages: 3
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: 9
ISSN: ISSN-0021-9584
Using Soda Cans to Teach Physical Science Students about Density
Sanger, Michael J.; Humphreys, Teari C.; LaPorte, Mark M.
Journal of Chemical Education, v86 n2 p209-211 Feb 2009
In this experiment, physical science students measured the mass of several soda cans, measured the mass and volume of water displaced when these cans were placed in water, and determined whether these cans sank or floated in water. Then, the students plotted graphs of the mass of displaced water versus the volume of displaced water, the mass of the soda cans versus the mass of displaced water, and the mass of the soda cans versus the volume of displaced water. The slope of the first graph provides the density of the displaced liquid (water). The second graph shows that the mass of displaced water equals the mass of the soda can for the floating cans (Archimedes' principle), but the mass of displaced water is less than the soda can's mass for the sinking cans. The slope of the floating cans in the third graph represents the density of the displaced liquid and the average volume for the sinking cans yields an average volume for all of the cans. Using this average volume for the soda cans, students calculate the density of each soda can and determine that objects whose densities are less than the liquid will float in it while objects whose densities are greater than the liquid will sink in it (the principle of flotation). (Contains 1 table and 3 figures.)
Division of Chemical Education of the American Chemical Society. Subscription Department, P.O. Box 1267, Bellmawr, NJ 08099-1267. Tel: 800-691-9846; Tel: 856-931-5825; Fax: 856-931-4115; e-mail:; Web site:
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Evaluative
Education Level: Higher Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A