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Montshire at Home: Density

Which is heavier, a pound of feathers or a pound of lead? They both weigh the same, of course, but the pound of lead takes up little more than 2 cubic inches of space, while the pound of feathers is as big as a pillow. Why? Because lead is much more dense than feathers, meaning it has more mass packed into the same volume.

Density is this week’s science topic on Montshire at Home. Check out the videos and downloads of experiments demonstrating density that you can do yourself with salt, water, food coloring, cups, balls, and a few other items hanging around the house.

Create a Density Column

This week we’re learning all about density! Density is how much mass something has. A great way to learn about it is by building your own density column with household materials. Learn how with Montshire educator Mike.

Watch the video then download the activity sheet to start the experiment at home!

Exploring Density through Sink and Float

One way to explore relative density is by testing whether something sinks or floats in liquid or gas.

For this experiment, we’re going to see if objects are more dense or less dense than water by observing if they sink or float.

Watch Montshire educator Amy explain, then download the activity sheet and try this experiment at home.

Create a Liquid Rainbow

Have you ever wondered how liquids can stack on top of each other instead of mixing together? It’s because they have different densities and don’t mix well together.

See this in action! Create a liquid rainbow using density to colorfully layer salt solutions. Download the activity sheet here.

What Happens to Ice in Salt? An Experiment

Surprisingly, the density of the salt water keeps the melt water in a cold layer on top that insulates the ice cube.

Create a Colorful Density Column

Make a colorful density column using items from your kitchen. Montshire educator Mike explains today’s experiment.

Underwater Fireworks

Set off fireworks underwater! For today’s experiment, create cool patterns by making food coloring “erupt” in water.

Download the activity sheet here!