Laurel Springs High School Module 1 M&Ms Physics Experiment Lab Report Purpose: To practice direct and indirect measurement
Introduction: Do you think you could measure the average thickness of a sample of M&M’S® without directly measuring selected M&M’S®? The answer is “yes,” and in this activity you will make direct and indirect measurements of the thickness of M&M’S®. You will compare the results and evaluate the reliability of each method of measurement. Be sure to view the tutorial on the proper use of the Vernier caliper.
Since a graduated cylinder is usually used for liquid measurement, students think they need to put water in the cylinder. This is not true for this activity. The graduated cylinder will be kept clean and dry for this activity. It is also important to remember that in the metric system, one mL is the same volume as one cubic centimeter (1 ml = 1 cm3).
Note: You do not have to purchase materials. The materials and procedures below describe how the data is collected. You may just use the trial images below to complete the activity as the virtual alternative to gathering materials.
Materials: Pictures will be provided of the experiment. Materials used in obtaining the pictures are a bag of regular (NOT peanut) M&M’S® (about 8 oz), plastic Vernier caliper, and 100 ml plastic graduated cylinder.
Start with a clean and dry 100 ml plastic graduated cylinder. Add M&M’S® until the graduated cylinder is about 3/4 full. Gently tap the graduated cylinder to “settle” the M&M’S®. Read the volume of M&M’S® in cm3 and record the value in Data Table 1.
“Pour” the M&M’S® onto a clean, dry table or other flat surface. Use your hands to gently push the M&M’S® into a solid circular shape, not a ring. You want to minimize the spaces between M&M’S® while making sure that the M&M’S® are “flat” on the surface. Now use the pictures of the Vernier caliper to measure the diameter of the M&M’S® “circle.” Record this value in Table 1.
Steps 1 and 2 are repeated using a different number of M&M’S®.
The thickness of three single M&M’S® selected at random from the sample are measured directly using the Vernier caliper, which is precise to a thousandth of a centimeter (If you place an M&M’S® on a surface, the thickness is a measurement from top to bottom). We have recorded the values for you in Table 2.
Submit your work according to the directions at the bottom of the page. You will complete the tables as you answer the questions. Be sure to include the information in the tables as requested below, so your instructor can check your calculations.
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