User login

Differing Densities: Fresh and Salt Water

Source Institutions

    California Academy of Sciences

Add to listGo to activity
Differing Densities: Fresh and Salt Water

In this activity, learners visualize the differences in water density and relate this to the potential consequences of increased glacial melting. This activity can be conducted as a demonstration and works best as an extension to the activity "Global Climate Change and Sea Level Rise".

Quick Guide

Preparation Time:
10 to 30 minutes

Learning Time:
2 to 4 hours

Estimated Materials Cost:
$5 - $10 per group of students

Age Range:
Ages 8 - 14

Resource Types:
Activity, Demonstration, Lesson/Lesson Plan


Materials List (per group of students)

  • one clear food storage box (approximately 6 inch square)
  • 4 sticks of classroom modeling clay
  • blue food coloring
  • ice cube trays
  • 4-5 intensely colored ice cubes
  • salt
  • 1/2 liter of refrigerated water
  • Differing Densities Worksheet


  • Earth and Space Science
    • Earth Processes
      • Weather and Climate
    • Earth Structure
      • Oceans and Water
  • Life Sciences
    • Ecology
      • Human Impact
  • Physical Sciences
    • Heat and Thermodynamics
      • Heat and Temperature
    • States of Matter
      • Changes of Phase
    • Structure and Properties of Matter
      • Mass and Weight
      • Volume and Density
  • The Nature of Science
    • Science and Society
      • Risks and Benefits
      • Public Policy
    • The Scientific Process
      • Conducting Investigations
      • Formulating Explanations
      • Communicating Results
  • The Nature of Technology
    • Technology and Society
      • Technology and the Environment

Informal Categories

  • Nature and Environment


To use this activity, learners need to:

  • see
  • see color
  • touch

Learning styles supported:

  • Involves teamwork and communication skills
  • Uses STEM to solve real-world problems
  • Involves hands-on or lab activities


Components that are part of this resource:

This resource is part of:

Access Rights:

  • Free access



  • All Rights Reserved, California Academy of Sciences, ©2008


User Lists

This resource is part of these lists:

  • Thumbnail water by on 2014-03-13