Have the warm up question posted on the board as students enter the room, “How can an investigator differentiate oneglass sample from another?” Using the Physical Property definition in Fast Facts, have students share their responses tothis question based on the physical properties of glass.2.
To introduce the lesson, share with students a story on a crime that was committed - "There was a hit and run car accident in the school parking lot this morning. The police have requested that the students from this class compare theglass fragments found at the crime scene with those taken from two suspects’ vehicles. You will need to report your findings to the police department as soon as possible."3.
Take students to the "crime scene" and have them collect the evidence (several pieces of each glass fragment sample)using tweezers.
Have students get into groups of four. Using the information in Fast Facts, tell the groups they will be required to note the“physical properties” of individual glass fragments as well as their density.2.
Explain to students they will need to describe the physical property of each glass fragment sample. Groups will need todistinguish one fragment from the others (for example, color, texture, size, shape). Have each student name the type of glass and record their answers under the Physical Properties column on the Student Sheet.3.
On the board / chart paper write the formula for density (Density = Mass / Volume). Using information in Fast Facts,explain the formula used to calculate density and define terms ‘mass’ and ‘volume.’4.
Distribute one scale to each group, and have groups weigh each glass fragment sample in milligrams. Have studentsrecord the mass (in mg) under the Mass column on the Student Sheet.5.
Distribute Resource Sheet:
Water Displacement Method
and review with students how to measure the volume of anirregular object. Students will use this method to determine the volume of an object.6.
Distribute one graduated cylinder to each group. Also distribute one separate cup with a small amount of water to eachgroup.7.
Have students find the volume of each glass fragment and record the volume (in mL) under the Volume column on theStudent Sheet.8.
Have students calculate the density by using the formula D =
) and have them record their answer under theDensity column on the Student Sheet.
Why were the physical properties of glass important to investigating this crime scene?2.
How can knowing the density of the glass fragments found at a crime scene be helpful in solving a crime?
Adapted from TeachersFirst.com
Thinking Teachers Teaching Thinkers®
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Note to Teacher:
The “crime scene” can be a separate table within the classroom, or it can be an outside location that has been setup prior to the class. If the “crime scene” is an outside location, return to the class for the next steps in the activityafter collecting the evidence.
Note to Teacher:
Be sure to have the students repeat steps 7 – 11 for each fragment of glass and record themass, volume, and density on the Student Sheet.