# Lesson Plan

## The Density of Coins

Main Subject Area: Science

Duration of Lesson:  90 minutes

Keywords:

• Cent
• Density
• Dime
• Mass
• Nickel
• Penny
• Volume

Brief Description:

Students will conduct a science experiment where they will learn that the different denominations have characteristic densities that can be used to help identify the type of coin being used.

National Standard(s):

• Science as inquiry
• Physical science

• Measurement
• Number and Operations

Objectives:

Students will learn that the different denominations have characteristic densities that can be used to help identify the type of coin being used.

Materials (online):

Materials (offline):

Pennies

Nickels

Dimes

Water

Balances

Calculators

Pencils

Paper

Coins Used in Lesson:

Currently circulating U.S. cents (pennies), nickels, and dimes

Procedures (online):

Procedures (offline):

1. Divide students into groups of two.

2. Distribute five of each coin (pennies, nickels, and dimes) to each student group.

3. Instruct each group to create a data table where they will include columns for coin type, mass, volume and density.

4. Each group will then use a balance to measure and record the mass of each set of five coins in their data table.

5. The students will next fill a graduated cylinder to the 20 mL point.

6. They will then drop each separate coin group (pennies, nickels, or dimes) into the water, and will record the height that the water rises to.

7. Students will then subtract the initial 20 mL from the height that the water rose to in the graduated cylinder to find the volume for each coin group. They will record the volume of each group in their data table.

8. Using a calculator, students should divide the mass of each set of five coins, by the volume of that coin group. This calculation will be representative of the density of that coin group.

9. The calculated density should then be written in the data table. Students will share their answers.

Note: The mass , volume and therefore density of circulating coins may vary slightly due to wear, however, these measurements should not be so different as to cause major discrepancies for students.

Assessment / Evaluation:

Students will be given data regarding “unknown” coins. Using previous knowledge the students developed, the students will be able to identify what type of coin the information relates to.

Students can be asked to find the density of coins of larger denominations (half-dollar, golden dollar) to demonstrate their understanding of the process for finding a coin’s density.

Differentiated Learning Options:

N/a