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ED 345 Calvin College Lesson Plan

Teacher: Kristina Wicks

Date: 11/9/16
Subject/Topic/ Theme: Science/Densities of Salt Water and Fresh Water/Hydrosphere
I. Objectives
What is the main focus of this lesson?
The main focus of this lesson is to compare the densities of fresh water and salt water.
How does this lesson tie in to a unit plan?
Fresh water and salt water are the two kinds of water that are a part of the hydrosphere. These waters
differ in their densities, which determines whether objects will float or sink in them.
Scott Foresman:
Students will:
1. Students compare and
1. Students will know what the
1. Contrast densities of fresh
contrast the densities and
hydrosphere is and what it
water and salt water.
buoyancies of salt water
2. Define and apply the
and fresh water in partner
2. Students will know how
saltwater and fresh water differ.
words density and
groups (and with teacher
Ex. Density.
when she checks on each
3. Students will apply the words
3. Write what the density of
density, buoyancy, and salinity.
salt water and fresh water
is like.

II. Before you start



Materials-what materials
(books, handouts, etc) do
you need for this lesson
and do you have them?
Do you need to set up
your classroom in any
special way for this
lesson? If so, describe it.
III. The Plan
Time Parts


Students can use the term buoyancy instead of floating to be more

- Students do experiment in small groups. This will give students a
hands on experience of density. Also, students will have a chance to
discuss density and buoyancy with their groups before talking as a
8 plastic cups (2 for teacher, 6 for 3 student groups)
20 beads (5 for each group, 5 for teacher)
Clear bin of fresh water
Clear bin of salt water
Aluminum foil (4 Pieces of the same size)
1-2 cans of salt
2 pieces of white printer paper
Push desks together into groups of 4-5.

Teacher Activities
How are salt water and fresh water different? What are some differences we talked about yesterday?
Salt water and fresh water are different in two other ways. Salt water and fresh water have different
Ask students what three phases or states water can be. Draw a three squares on the whiteboard. Label the
top of each square as solid, liquid, or gas. Ask students what the molecules of a substance would look like

as a solid liquid gas. Draw little circles in each square, showing how the molecules in a gas a far apart, the
molecules in a liquid are closer together, and the molecules in a solid are very close together.
Define density. Density: how compact something is
Define Buoyancy. Buoyancy: whether something is likely to float or not
Demo 1:
We talked about density when we learned about Plate Tectonics. Density is how compact something is.
Imagine that it is winter time and there is fresh snow that has fallen on the ground. Is the snow that has
just fallen on the ground very compact? No. However, you make the snow more compact when you step
on it or make a snowball with it. We can say that the freshly fallen snow is less dense than the snow you
make into a snowball.
Demo 2:
Certain liquids are denser than others too. I have regular water in this cup. What happens when I pour oil
in the cup? The oil floats. Which of these liquids is denser? The water is denser because it is on bottom.
The oil is less dense because it is floating on top.
Density Experiment:
Today, you will be figuring out how the density of salt water and fresh water differ. Also, you will be
figuring out how their buoyancy differs. Buoyancy is another word for whether something floats. Write
density and buoyancy/float on the board for students to remember.


Split students up into groups of 4-5. Have students put their desks together. Before class, the teacher
already lined up rows of fresh water and salt water in cups. The student sitting closest to the door will
grab a cup of fresh water and a cup of salt water for their group. The teacher will hand out a few beads to
each group. Teacher can ask a volunteer to hand out the lab instructions. Explain that the students need to
predict what will happen on the worksheet before they try it. Groups will drop the beads in the water to
see whether they float or sink. Then they will try to figure out what this has to do with the density and
buoyancy of the fresh water and salt water.
Teacher will meet with each group, asking questions like:
- What happened when you dropped the beads in the fresh water?
- What happened when you dropped the beads in the salt water?
- Is this what you thought would happen?
- What does this have to do with density?
- Is salt water or fresh water denser? How do you know?
After about 5-10 minutes, the teacher will call students to attention to talk about the experiment. Refer to
questions above.
Is salt more or less dense than water? If you pour salt into a cup, what happens? The salt falls to the
bottom; this means that the salt is denser than the water. If you put something not so dense and something
pretty dense together, what happens? They kind of average out. So when you add salt to fresh water, it
becomes denser.
Students will take out Venn Diagram from last class and add these differences.
- Fresh water is less dense so objects tend to sink.
- Salt water is denser so objects tend to float.
Turn and talk to a partner and tell them why things tend to float in salt water but sink in fresh water. Also,
students will tell their partners one similarity between fresh water and salt water.


Students clean up materials from experiment. Cups can be washed and reused. Beads will be returned to
teacher to use again for next group. Students should wipe up any water that was spilled on their desks and
the floor. Students must get permission from teacher to leave for next class or recess (to make sure the
desks get cleaned up).


When I talked with my mentor teacher, she gave me the idea to explain density by looking at the difference
between a crushed-up piece of paper and a flat piece of paper. The day after I taught this lesson, I talked with
my fiance and we concluded that this would not be an accurate example of density since the mass and volume
of the paper would not change. The next time I met with the students, I asked them to change the first
demonstration example to snow. When snow has just fallen on the ground it is not as dense as snow that has
been stepped on or packed together in a snowball. Even thought I could not show this example to them in
person, they all had experienced snow and knew what I was talking about.
The second demonstration went well and connected well to students previous experiences with baking and
It saved time to have all the salt water and fresh water in cups for students to take when the time came to start
the lab. Next time I might do smaller groups. One or two students were not thinking for themselves and simply
writing down what other students thought. I may be able to prevent that from happening as much by having
smaller groups.
Next time I will add more salt to the water to ensure that all the beads will float to the top. In one group, I had
to add salt part way through the lab. I was being cheap and hoping to conserve on salt.