Density, Buoyancy and Convection
This activity was selected for the On the Cutting Edge Exemplary Teaching Collection
Resources in this top level collection a) must have scored Exemplary or Very Good in all five review categories, and must also rate as “Exemplary” in at least three of the five categories. The five categories included in the peer review process are
- Scientific Accuracy
- Alignment of Learning Goals, Activities, and Assessments
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This activity has benefited from input from a review and suggestion process as a part of an activity development workshop.
This activity has benefited from input from faculty educators beyond the author through a review and suggestion process as a part of an activity development workshop. Workshop participants were provided with a set of criteria against which they evaluated each others' activities. For information about the criteria used for this review, see http://serc.carleton.edu/teacherprep/workshops/workshop07/activityreview.html.
This page first made public: May 2, 2007
In this Earth Science lab, students observe the process of convection and then discover how and why it works through a series of hands-on activities in which they explore and build the various concepts that they need to understand in order to fully construct an understanding of the process of convection. The lab activity culminates in the construction of a concept map to explain how and why convection occurs.
Learn more about the course for which this activity was developed.
Context for Use
Teaching Notes and Tips
Lab Choreography (Acrobat (PDF) 10kB Apr16 07)
List of materials needed (Acrobat (PDF) 8kB Apr16 07)
Each lab table is assigned to present their answers to the questions about one of the activities to the rest of the class, using overhead transparencies for illustration. A whole-class discussion follows each presentation.
Students are asked to figure out how a Galilean thermometer and a lava lamp work, using concepts learned in this activity.
Students construct concept maps of the convection process.
References and Resources
A lesson on upwelling ocean currents for grades 6-8
A Flash animation showing the changes in density and temperature of a fluid as it flows in a convection current
Controlled Vocabulary Terms
Resource Type: Activities:Lab Activity
Grade Level: College Lower (13-14):Introductory Level
Ready for Use: Ready to Use
Earth System Topics: Solid Earth