The Incredible Shrinking Cup
Students decorate polysterene cups later to be submerged in the ocean. Subsequent activities have students consider the effects of water pressure and depth with respect to their cups.
Students will determine mass and volume of a styrofoam cup. They will calculate the density and research the depth of the Bering, Beaufort and Chukchi Seas. They will also make scientific observations and take measurements using the metric system.
Part One: This activity takes place before cups are taken to the Bering, Beaufort and Chukchi Seas. Many researchers will submerge a polystyrene cup for students. Contact your local COSEE, Sea Grant, Oceanographic Institution, etc.
This lab can be used to introduce concepts such as reading a meniscus, taking scientific measurements using a triple beam balance, determining volume by displacement, or the importance of good scientific observations. It can also be a review to practice these skills. The observations taken in Part One are essential to discussing what happens to the cup and the effect water pressure has on objects. Follow the attached worksheets and answer all questions.
- Divide the class into four groups.
- Students decorate their Styrofoam cup using permanent markers.
- Students will sketch and describe their cups.
- Calculate the mass of the Styrofoam cup using a triple beam balance. Record.
- Calculate the volume of the Styrofoam cup using displacement. Fill an extra large graduated cylinder to a determined mark. Place a 20 gram weight in your Styrofoam cup and place it in the graduated cylinder. Note the amount of water displaced by subtracting your beginning amount with your ending amount. Subtract the water displaced by the 20 g used to "sink" the cup. This was 6 ml when we did it. Record.
- Calculate density using the formula D=mass/volume. Record.
- For further research - students will research the depth of each of the Bering, Beaufort and Chukchi Seas.
Chantelle Rose, Graham High School, rosec [at] grahamlocalschools [dot] org