Lesson Title: Specific Gravity
Unit: Unit 3-Earth Systems 3209
Learning Outcomes (link to curriculum/what students will be able to know/do by the end)
- How to calculate Specific Gravity
- Skills in the laboratory (Conducting experiments, reflecting, and exploring)
- STSE (errors in analytical practices)
Purpose (why of the lessons, how and where does it fit into
the course):
This lesson will demonstrate to students the steps to
calculate specific gravity, how you can use specific gravity
to identify minerals and errors in calculating specific
- NL Curriculum Guide Earth Systems 3209, Unit 3,
page 70-73
Differentiation (individuals/learning styles):
Assessment (checks for understanding /promote
Students who are strong with theoretical concepts will
understand from the first explanation of how to calculate
specific gravity and then can move working alone or in
groups, calculating specific gravity for other minerals. For
students that learn from examples or don’t understand
concepts quickly will benefit from demonstration of one of
two more minerals demonstrated at the front. For
students who learn visually or kinesthetically, they will
learn from the process.
We will assess students’ to understand how specific
gravity is calculated. Students will have assistance
calculating 3 of the 4 minerals but will be responsible
to calculate percent error for 3 of the 4 minerals.
Please see student worksheet for more information.
We will discuss as a class sources of error in this
experiment, which will be a formative assessment.
To differentiate, you can set up one mass balance and
graduated cylinder up front for the class to see and
another mass balance and graduate cylinder in the back of
the class for advanced/kinesthetic learners. Students that
don’t need extra assistance can work quietly in the back of
the class while I go through the material with the
remaining classroom.
learning/record keeping):
This is a core lab in Earth Systems 3209 so students
will have to pass their lab in at the end of class or
pass it in the following class. Labs will be graded for
their portfolio as a summative assessment.
Starter (hook/connection to existing knowledge/previous learning):
This class will begin with an “Admit slip”. This will allow the teacher to see how many different mineral
characteristics they can name.
Lesson Title: Specific Gravity
Unit: Unit 3-Earth Systems 3209
Teacher Doing
Students Doing
Pass out Admit slip. Give students 2 minutes to
complete and ask for them to return them.
Discuss as a class the variety of ways to classify
minerals. Introduce specific gravity as another
way to classify minerals.
Students write the mineral characteristics they
Students will be patiently waiting for
distribution of sheets until Jake begins his
Pass out Specific Gravity Worksheet. Walk
students through how to calculate specific
gravity on the first page. Draw table of data on
board and bring presentation up on
Smart/Team Board. Go through steps of
calculating specific gravity with students
slowly including calculating percent error. You
can ask for a student volunteer to help with
each mineral.
Once the first run through of Specific Gravity is
complete, you can invite the students to
calculate the specific gravity at the other
station in the room. If students feel
comfortable you can just help them calculate or
you can continue lecturing.
Students will receive worksheet. Read through
procedure on front page. Write out values
Ask students for the masses they received and
volume displaced for each mineral and
complete table on the board. Ask them for their
calculated specific gravity and percent error.
Percent errors can be as high as 50%. Have a
discussion about various sources of error
within this experiment.
Time is given to complete specific gravity and
percent error calculations. Students can then
complete the sources of error question on the
sheet. There will be time given for any
remaining questions.
Go through a common specific gravity question
that can be found on quizzes, unit tests or
Students answer question given.
Buffer time: if the lecture or the lab component takes extra time. Remind students to pass in a
completed lab report or have it prepared for next class. Clean up stations in laboratory, put away
minerals. Take a picture of data calculated on the board for any students that missed the lab.
Students continue calculating specific gravity
and percent error for 3 other minerals. They
can work in groups or individually.

Lesson Title: Specific Gravity Unit: Unit 3