Density "POGIL-Like" Activity

Although many students have been exposed to the concept of density before reaching my Chemistry class, I always start the year with this POGIL-like activity. This helps students start on the same page with their density understanding before we dive into more advanced chemistry concepts. It also helps us develop group roles and classroom norms for group work. For more information about POGIL, check out their website.


Mass, Volume, and Density

Time required: 

Approximately one hour including the debrief (I recommend holding a whole-class discussion for the summarizing questions that follow the What is density? activity and a selection of mathematical computation problems from the How can you calculate density? activity.)


Student Handout


Refer to the student handout.


This POGIL-like activity relies on students working together to develop a conceptual and mathematical understanding of density. In this activity, it is important that students work in groups and verbally discuss their ideas before recording them on the sheet. The teacher’s role is to circulate, listen to students, and ask probing questions. This activity only requires the student handout. Depending upon the classroom norms and routines, I either recommend making one copy for each student or one copy per group (where students then record their ideas in their laboratory notebook).

Group roles:

  • Leader
  • Speaker
  • Reader
  • Writer
  • Quality Control

Norms when solving POGIL problems:

  • All group members are on the same problem
  • Each group member shares his/her idea
  • Group members come to consensus on a question and record a group response before moving on
  • Groups stop at the “stop sign” to check in with the instructor
  • Any student from the group could report on behalf of the group

This activity was inspired by the POGIL structure and written by Shelly Belleau.