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Author: Jennifer Roushar
  1. Define density as mass/volume.

  2. Provide real world examples of objects with varying densities.

  3. Demonstrate how to calculate density to the correct number of significant figures using experimental measurements.

  4. Explain how percent difference is an indication of accuracy.

This packet should help a learner seeking to apply knowledge of experimental measurements to density calculations.

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What is Density

Density is a measure of how heavy something is for its size.  It is defined as mass per unit volume.  The formula for calculating density is mass divided by volume (D=m/v).   Units for density are either grams per milliliter (g/mL) or grams per cubic centimeter (g/cm3).  Since 1 mL = 1 cm3, it does not matter what unit you use.  Usually mL measures liquid volume while cm3 measures solid volume.

Source: Jennifer Roushar

Densities of Common Substances

Different substances have different densities as shown in the table below.  The larger the density the heavier the object is for its size.  Since the density of water is 1.000, anything with a density of greater than 1 will sink in water and anything with a density of less than 1.000 will float in water. 


Source: Jennifer Roushar; Image from

How to Calculate Density

Source: Jennifer Roushar

Percent Difference

Source: Jennifer Roushar