ALEX Lesson Plan


My Gummy Bear is Bigger than Your Gummy Bear!

You may save this lesson plan to your hard drive as an html file by selecting "File", then "Save As" from your browser's pull down menu. The file name extension must be .html.

  This lesson provided by:  
Author:Debbie Elmore
System: Athens City
School: Athens City Board Of Education
The event this resource created for:ASTA
  General Lesson Information  
Lesson Plan ID: 34640


My Gummy Bear is Bigger than Your Gummy Bear!


Students will develop an understanding of volume and density by analyzing, calculating, and measuring a gummy bear. The students will determine the cause and effect of a water-soaked gummy bear. Students will measure water and gummy bear with accuracy, record data, and communicate their results.

This lesson results from collaboration between the Alabama State Department of Education and ASTA.

 Associated Standards and Objectives 
Content Standard(s):
MA2015 (2016)
Grade: 5
20 ) Recognize volume as an attribute of solid figures, and understand concepts of volume measurement. [5-MD3]

a. A cube with side length 1 unit, called a "unit cube," is said to have "one cubic unit" of volume, and can be used to measure volume. [5-MD3a]

b. A solid figure which can be packed without gaps or overlaps using n unit cubes is said to have a volume of n cubic units. [5-MD3b]

NAEP Framework
NAEP Statement::
8M1h: Solve problems involving volume or surface area of rectangular solids, cylinders, prisms, or composite shapes.

SC2015 (2015)
Grade: 5
5 ) Construct explanations from observations to determine how the density of an object affects whether the object sinks or floats when placed in a liquid.

NAEP Framework
NAEP Statement::
P4.3: Matter exists in several different states; the most common states are solid, liquid, and gas. Each state of matter has unique properties. For instance, gases are easily compressed while solids and liquids are not. The shape of a solid is independent of its container; liquids and gases take the shape of their containers.

Unpacked Content
Scientific And Engineering Practices:
Constructing Explanations and Designing Solutions
Crosscutting Concepts: Cause and Effect
Disciplinary Core Idea: Matter and Its Interactions
Evidence Of Student Attainment:
  • Use data from observations to explain how the density of an object affects whether an object sinks or floats when placed in a liquid, like water.
Teacher Vocabulary:
  • density
  • volume
  • buoyancy
  • data
  • observe
  • explain
  • sink
  • float
  • mass
Students know:
  • Objects are made of many tiny particles to small to be seen.
  • Some objects have many tiny particles compacted close together that causes the object to sink while other objects the same size may float because their tiny particles are less compact.
  • Some objects of the same size sink when others float.
  • Buoyancy is the ability of an object to float.
Students are able to:
  • Predict the results of different types of objects being placed in water. Test the objects and communicate the results.
  • Use appropriate tools (Scale, balance, ruler, or graduated cylinder) to measure the weight, mass, and/volume of an object.
  • Construct an explanation to describe the observed relationship between density and the ability of an object to sink or float.
  • Identify the evidence that supports the explanation that density affects the ability of an object to sink or float.
Students understand that:
  • Cause and effect relationships are routinely identified and used to explain phenomenon like sinking and floating.
AMSTI Resources:
AMSTI Module:
Matter and Interactions

Alabama Alternate Achievement Standards
AAS Standard:
SCI.AAS.5.5- Observe how the density of an object affects whether the object sinks or floats when placed in a liquid; predict whether an object will float or sink in water.

MA2019 (2019)
Grade: 5
19. Relate volume to the operations of multiplication and addition, and solve real-world and mathematical problems involving volume.

a. Use the associative property of multiplication to find the volume of a right rectangular prism and relate it to packing the prism with unit cubes. Show that the volume can be determined by multiplying the three edge lengths or by multiplying the height by the area of the base.

b. Apply the formulas V = l x w x h and V = B x h for rectangular prisms to find volumes of right rectangular prisms with whole-number edge lengths in the context of solving real-world and mathematical problems.

c. Find volumes of solid figures composed of two non-overlapping right rectangular prisms by adding the volumes of the two parts, applying this technique to solve real-world problems.
Unpacked Content
Evidence Of Student Attainment:
Given right rectangular prisms with whole number edge lengths,
  • Use associative property of multiplication to find volume and relate it to packing a solid with unit cubes.
  • Apply formula V = l × w × h, where V represents volume and l, w, and h represent the three dimensions of the prism (length, width, height) and relate the formula to a unit cube filled model.
  • Apply formula V = B × h, where V represents volume, B is the base-area, and h represents the height (number of layers of the base-area) and relate the formula to a unit cube filled model.

  • Given a solid figure composed of two or more right rectangular prisms in real-world or mathematical contexts, find the total volume by decomposing the figure into non-overlapping rectangular prisms and find the sum of the volumes.
Teacher Vocabulary:
  • Volume
  • Unit cube
  • Rectangular prism
  • Base
  • Base-area
  • Dimensions
  • Face
  • Length
  • Width
  • Height
  • Layers
  • Edge
  • Equivalent
  • Conservation of volume
  • Attribute
  • Composition
  • Decomposition
  • Formula
Students know:
  • Measurable attributes of area and how it relates to finding the volume of objects.
  • Units of measurement for volume, specifically unit cubes.
Students are able to:
  • Solve word problems involving volume.
  • Use associative property of multiplication to find volume.
  • Relate operations of multiplication and addition to finding volume.
  • Apply formulas to find volume of right rectangular prisms.
  • Find volume of solid figures composed of two rectangular prisms.
Students understand that:
  • Volume is a derived attribute based on a length unit and can be computed as the product of three length measurements or as the product of one base area and one length measurement.
  • Volume is an extension of area and can be found as the area of the base being repeated for a given number of layers.
Diverse Learning Needs:
Essential Skills:
Learning Objectives:
M.5.19.1: Define volume.
M.5.19.2: Recognize angle measure as additive.
M.5.19.3: Apply the area and perimeter formulas for rectangles in real-world and mathematical problems.
M.5.19.4: Solve real-world and mathematical problems involving perimeters of polygons, including finding the perimeter given the side lengths, finding an unknown side length, and exhibiting rectangles with the same perimeter and different areas or with the same area and different perimeters.
M.5.19.5: Recognize the formula for volume.
M.5.19.6: Recall the attributes of three-dimensional solids.
M.5.19.7: Recall basic multiplication facts.
M.5.19.8: Fluently add.
M.5.19.9: Compare the unit size of volume/capacity in the metric system including milliliters and liters.
M.5.19.10: Measure and estimate liquid volumes.
M.5.19.11: Recall basic multiplication facts.
M.5.19.12: Compare the unit size of volume/capacity in the metric system including milliliters and liters.
M.5.19.13: Recognize the formula for volume.
M.5.19.14: Recall basic multiplication facts.
M.5.19.15: Describe attributes of three-dimensional figures.
M.5.19.16: Describe attributes of two-dimensional figures.
M.5.19.17: Identify solid figures.

Prior Knowledge Skills:
  • Count unit cubes to find volume.
  • Demonstrate volume by packing a solid figure with unit cubes.
  • Convert measurement units.
  • Solve mulit-step word problems involving measurement conversions.

Alabama Alternate Achievement Standards
AAS Standard:
M.AAS.5.19 Determine the volume of a rectangular prism by counting units of measurement (e.g., unit cubes).

Local/National Standards:


Primary Learning Objective(s):

After completing this lab, students will be able to do the following:

  1. Calculate the area, volume, and density after measuring the gummy bear before and after soaking it overnight.
  2. Construct an explanation from the cause and effect of soaking a gummy bear overnight.
  3. Classify living organisms by seven common characteristics.
  4. Draw an outdoor scene or color an existing scene to identify living organisms from non-living things.
  5. Hypothesize if an object affects whether the object sinks or floats when placed in a liquid.
  6. Strategically choose an appropriate common unit to use for computations when working with problems that contain measurements in different units.
  7. Strategically choose and apply representations and computation techniques for solving real-life mathematical problems.
  8. Accurately compute solutions.
  9. Use logical reasoning to justify solution paths.

Additional Learning Objective(s):

 Preparation Information 

Total Duration:

61 to 90 Minutes

Materials and Resources:

  • Gummy Bear Lab Form
  • Science Notebook/Journal
  • Pencil/Paper
  • Triple-beam balance
  • Gram scale
  • Scales to weight book
  • Ruler
  • Gummy bear (2 for each student)
  • Water
  • Beaker
  • Calculator
  • Clear plastic cup
  • Paper towels
  • Timer
  • Textbook (any size)
  • Crayons/Colored Pencils

Technology Resources Needed:


Student technology device

Teacher email address (optional)

Students may use his or her technology device to record data results, take picture, and/or email conclusion questions to teacher. Teacher will need to provide an email address for students to send answer via email. If teachers use Google Classroom, the question can be uploaded, and students can respond.


For Teacher:  The teacher must be knowledgeable about the following:

  1. Density of a material is defined as its mass per unit volume. 
  2. Volume of water is different and has specific and unique mass.
  3. The mass of water is expressed in grams (g) or kilograms (kg), and volume is measured in liters (L), cubic centimeters (cm 3), or milliliters (mL).

Students will measure the length, width, and height of a textbook to review how to measure correctly.  Students will calculate the volume of the book. Volume = length x width x height.     
Video, “Our Density Song.”  Students will sing and review the definition of density by singing along with the video of middle school students. Students will find the density of the book.

Students will begin “Gummy Bear Lab” by following directions on the form.  Depending on class experience, the teacher may want to have students conduct each step together as guided inquiry or may choose to let this be an inquiry lesson.

Question:  What do you think will happen to a gummy bear when you put it in water over night?

Hypothesis: ___________________________________________

Plan:   Choose one gummy bear.  Take a pencil and draw around gummy bear on paper before continuing on. Put the bear in a cup labeled with your name and class period.  Use the equipment available to measure your gummy bear and record the data in the chart for Day 1.

Measurements:  Measure to the nearest tenth of a centimeter.

  1. Measure the length from the top of its head to the bottom of its feet.

  2. Measure the width of the widest point across the back of the bear.

  3. Measure the height from the front to the back at the thickest point.

  4. Calculate the volume by multiplying the length, width, and height.

  5. Measure the mass using a triple-beam balance or other scale to the nearest tenth of a gram.

  6. Calculate the density by dividing the mass by the volume. D = M/V

  7. Add 50 ml of water to the cup and allow it to sit overnight. Place cup in designated area.

Make sure students record data on a chart. 



On Day 2, carefully remove the gummy bear from the cup of water and use a towel to dry it off to prevent it from dripping.

  1. Repeat the measurements, and record your data in the correct portion of the chart.
  2. Subtract the amount of change for each measurement and record in the chart.
  3. Students will explain the difference in the size of the gummy bear.


Elaborate/Extend: Students will answer questions either on paper or via computer email or app.  

  1. Was your hypothesis correct? Why or why not?
  2. Which change is greater, volume or mass? Explain.
  3. Was there a change in density? Why?
  4. How do your results compare to those of your classmates?

**Some files will display in a new window. Others will prompt you to download.

Assessment Strategies

This lesson will be assessed based on correctly answering questions with reasonable answers. 

Assessment: The teacher will observe students as they measure, calculate and conduct the experiment to see if the evidence supports the explanation that density affects the ability of an object to sink or float.

Assessment: Students will answer questions on the form to check for understanding.  The teacher may choose to let students answer the question by emailing it or uploading to app or Google to the teacher. The teacher will need to provide an email address for students to send answer via email. If teachers use Google Classroom, the questions may be uploaded so students can respond.


Students can begin to test other objects, for example, a golf ball.

Question:  How many spoonfuls of salt will we have to add to make our golf ball float?  Why will salt water make


  1. Add your golf ball and record what you see.
  2. Using your spoon, remove the golf ball and place it on the napkin.
  3. Add one spoonful of salt to your water and stir until the salt is dissolved.
  4. Test the golf ball to see if it floats. If it floats stop and record the amount of salt next.
  5. If it sinks, remove the golf ball and another spoonful and repeat the process.

What I Learned: 

  1. What did we change the density of? 
  2. What happens to objects with a higher density? 
  3. What happens to objects with a lower density? 


Students who need extra support may be assigned to a partner who is sensitive to the needs of that student. 

View the Special Education resources for instructional guidance in providing modifications and adaptations for students with significant cognitive disabilities who qualify for the Alabama Alternate Assessment.