Lesson synopsis for Teachers

View the video clip below to watch what you and your student will carry out in this lesson.

You are watching: What is heavier oil or water

Downloadables:Lesson setup (PDF) |Student activity Sheet (PDF) |Student analysis (PDF) |Teacher lift (PDF) |Connections to NGSS (PDF)


Students will have the ability to explain that the density of a liquid has to do through how heavy it is because that the sample size. Students will likewise be may be to explain that if a liquid is much more dense 보다 water, it will sink when added to water, and if that is less dense than water, it will float.

Key Concepts

A liquid, as with a solid, has its very own characteristic density.The thickness of a fluid is a measure of how heavy it is for the amount measured. If you weigh equal amounts or volumes of two various liquids, the liquid that weighs much more is much more dense.If a liquid the is less dense than water is gently added to the surface ar of the water, it will certainly float ~ above the water. If a liquid the is an ext dense 보다 water is added to the surface of the water, it will sink.

Note: we are intentionally using the state “size” and “amount” rather of “volume” in this lesson around density. We are additionally using “heavy”, “light”, and “weight” rather of “mass”. If her students have currently learned the definitions of volume and also mass, you can quickly use those state to define density (Density = mass/volume), and also then usage those terms in this lesson.

NGSS Alignment

NGSS 5-PS1-3:Make observations and also measurements to identify materials based on their properties.


In the previous lesson, student learned that density has to do with just how heavy an object or substance is family member to its size, and also that thickness determines whether an object sinks or floats. Students likewise observed that you can compare the thickness of a problem to the thickness of water by to compare the weights that equal quantities of the substance and also water using a balance.

In this lesson:

As a demonstration, the teacher will certainly compare the weight of an equal amount or volume that water and corn syrup therefore students deserve to observe that corn syrup is an ext dense 보다 water and sinks.Students will compare the weight of an equal amount or volume that water and also vegetable oil and see that vegetable oil is less dense than water and floats.Students add corn syrup to layered oil and also water and also see the corn syrup sinks below both the oil and also water.


Download the student task sheet (PDF)and distribute one per student when specified in the activity. The activity sheet will certainly serve together the advice component that the 5-E great plan.


Make sure you and your students wear properly fitting safety goggles. Isopropil “rubbing” alcohol is a flammable liquid. Keep away native heat, sparks, open flames, and also hot surfaces. Isopropil alcohol is likewise irritating to eyes and skin, and may reason drowsiness or dizziness ifinhaled. Occupational with isopropil alcohol in a well-ventilated room. Read and follow all warnings ~ above the label.

Clean-up and Disposal

Remind student to to wash their hands after completing the activity. All common household or classroom materials have the right to be conserved or disposed that in the normal manner.


Water2 clean plastic cupsCorn syrup (Karo syrup), 1 cupFood coloringPopsicle pole or plastic spoonVegetable oilIsopropyl “rubbing” alcohol (70%)Ice cubesBalance

Teacher Preparation

Pour 50 mL the corn syrup, 50 mL of water, and 50 mL of vegetables oil into three plastic cups for every group.

Note: Corn syrup and also vegetable oil can be daunting to clean out of i graduated cylinders. To protect against this mess, measure and pour 50 mL the water into each of three plastic cups. Then mark the external of each cup to show the level that the fluid in every cup. Pour out the water from 2 of the cups and also dry the inside v a paper towel. Next, usage those cup to measure up the amount of corn syrup and also vegetable oil for each group. Include 1 fall of food coloring to the corn syrup.

Each team will need 50 mL the corn syrup, 50 mL the water, and also 50 mL of vegetables oil in separate cups.

For the demonstration, friend will need 50mL the water and 50 mL the corn syrup (colored through 1 autumn of food coloring) in separate cups.



1. Do a demonstrate to compare the thickness of corn syrup and also water.

Materials for the demonstration:Water in a clear plastic cup¼ cup corn syrup (Karo syrup) v food color in a clean plastic cupPopsicle rod or plastic spoonGraduated cylinder or beakerBalanceProcedureHold up 2 cups and tell students that you have actually water in one cup and the exact same amount or volume that corn syrup (colored blue) in the other cup.Place the cups on opposite ends of a balance.Expected results

The corn syrup is heavier, which shows that that is more dense than water.


Ask students:Since us weighed equal amounts and the corn syrup to be heavier, is water or corn syrup more dense? Corn syrup is an ext dense than water.Predict what will occur if we pour the corn syrup right into the water. Will the corn syrup float or sink when added to the water? The corn syrup need to sink in the water.Pour the fancy corn syrup right into the cup comprise water tosee if the corn syrup floats or sinks in the water.Expected result

It will sink.The corn syrup sinks in the water.

Give each student an activity Sheet (PDF).

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Students will record their observations, and answer questions about the activity on the activity sheet.