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The LEGO Lighthouse!
A simple but effective demo of the equivalency between milliliters and cubic centimeters used by Topsy when she taught HS Chemistry.
About this creation
Below is the original photo of the No. CA Coast taken by my hubby & edited with only the addition of…
“The LEGO Lighthouse”!



Step #1:

I would first show “The LEGO Lighthouse” to the class placed in a large beaker of water. I always proceeded to juggle it around, make some stupid jokes/comments, act silly, and say I was simulating a storm at sea. (By this time in the term my students knew I was crazy!) Then I would have several students read the volume of water in a graduated cylinder. (Remembering the meniscus!) One student would be asked to remove “The LEGO Lighthouse” from the beaker and place it in the graduated cylinder.

(I had to sneak and stuff the moc with enough copper shot so that it would sink into the water! But this didn’t matter because we were not doing density calculations!)

Step #2:
Several students were then asked to read/verify the new volume reading due to the displacement of the water by “The LEGO Lighthouse”.

Step #3:
The volume of “The LEGO Lighthouse” in milliliters was then obtained from the difference between the reading of the original volume of water in the cylinder and the new volume of water.

Step #4:
On an overhead projection device (so that the whole class could see), I would measure in millimeters the diameter and height (ignoring the 4 studs on top) of a 2x2 round LEGO plate using vernier calipers. A student would verify/record these measurements on the white board.

Step #5:
Using the formula for the diameter of a cylinder, I would lead the students through the calculations of the estimated volume (ignoring the 4 studs on top) of the 2x2 round plate in cubic millimeters. (Yes, units of measurement ARE shown in the calculations!)

Step #6:
We would then convert this volume in cubic millimeters to cubic centimeters. TRICKY STUFF for some high schoolers!

Step #7:
Knowing that it takes 3 stacked LEGO 2x2 round plates to make 1 LEGO 2x2 round cylinder, we could then calculate the estimated volume of “The LEGO Lighthouse” in cubic centimeters.

Step #8:
Our estimated volume in cubic centimeters of “The LEGO Lighthouse” would always come very close to the volume in milliliters derived from the graduated cylinder readings for “The LEGO Lighthouse” !

4th wall:
#1
Students were able to see first hand the equivalency between milliliters and cubic centimeters. They also obtained practice in multiple unit conversions and dimensional analysis calculations!
#2 I have always wanted to post this demo and I am so glad I have finally gotten around to doing so! It’s my second example of my use of LEGO in the classroom! My first was The Horse in a Jar!



Comments

 I like it 
  January 1, 2014
I remember doing this back in school. Unfortunately, the lesson did not include Lego bricks.
 I made it 
  September 2, 2013
Quoting JWG 258 interesting way to teach how to find the volume of an object. I may use a similar method when teaching my son about volume.
Great... this is why I love LEGO sooo much! I have 2 daughters and it was my eldest who was the LEGO builder(the other prefered, shhhh, Playmobil.) My eldest is a Chem. Eng. major. I attribute LEGO to helping her practice 3D visualization, so important for engineers! :)
 I like it 
  September 1, 2013
interesting way to teach how to find the volume of an object. I may use a similar method when teaching my son about volume.
 I made it 
  May 8, 2013
Quoting Justin M Very cool idea! =D
Thanks Justin! And it is MOCpages format that allows builders to showcase stories, series, and explanations like this that is so wonderful. If it wasn't for that MOCpages' feature, I'd leave here for good due to all the recent problems. But I'm hanging in there just like everyone else is... although it is no secret that we have all begun setting up Flikr accounts! :)
 I like it 
  May 4, 2013
Very cool idea! =D
 I made it 
  May 2, 2013
Quoting Michael Kringe Wow, awesome idea! Having a teacher like you must be awesome! :)
Thanks, but we do have to give credit to the LEGO's! :)
 I like it 
  May 1, 2013
Wow, awesome idea! Having a teacher like you must be awesome! :)
 I made it 
  April 28, 2013
Quoting Parrington Levens Neat FX Topsy!
Good to see there IS life at G.A.I.A. high command! :)
 I made it 
  April 28, 2013
Quoting El Barto ! Awesome first pic there, Topsy! Just reading "high school chemistry" started giving me a headache, but it must have been fun to have you as a teacher!
I know what you mean... it wasn't my best subject in HS either... math was! And yet I fell in love with it in college! :)
 I like it 
  April 28, 2013
Neat FX Topsy!
 I like it 
  April 27, 2013
Awesome first pic there, Topsy! Just reading "high school chemistry" started giving me a headache, but it must have been fun to have you as a teacher!
 I made it 
  April 27, 2013
Quoting LukeClarenceVan The Revanchist Looks like a fun way to learn about measurement, and cool photo to boot. Do you live in the USA? If so, I didn't know that you'd use the SI system. Do all science classes use it or just High School and up?
Yes. Usually kids are introduced to the metric system in middle school science. It's probably only the kids that take Chem and Physics in HS that hear the term SI units. Most university level science classes use it except in perhaps mechanical and civil engineering classes? :)
 I made it 
  April 27, 2013
Quoting Nick Barrett Some inspired teaching here, Archimedes would have been proud :-)
Thanks! I'd like to think he may have had his own wittle lighthouse instead of a rubber ducky for his bath?! :)
 I made it 
  April 27, 2013
Quoting A M Haha, genius teaching methods and an excellent shot!
That pic was one of several captured quickly when we were walking/talking with friends. I did have to do a bit of experimenting to get that edited beacon effect! Thanks for stopping by! :)
 I like it 
  April 27, 2013
Looks like a fun way to learn about measurement, and cool photo to boot. Do you live in the USA? If so, I didn't know that you'd use the SI system. Do all science classes use it or just High School and up?
 I like it 
  April 27, 2013
Some inspired teaching here, Archimedes would have been proud :-)
 I like it 
  April 27, 2013
Haha, genius teaching methods and an excellent shot!
 I made it 
  April 27, 2013
Quoting matt rowntree ALWAYS REMEMBER THE MENISCUS!!! Oh God, how I wish school was more accessible and universally tactile. This lesson is so simple that it's brilliant. What you have successfully done here is introduce art into chemistry and vice versa. Combining subjects is, in my opinion, the ONLY way to get students, and their parents, interested in learning. The circumspect, multi-front attack on the brain. I hope you still teach, Topsy.
I always tried to engage/address, at some time, all the senses in the learning... even when I taught Math. And, Chemistry is the kind of a subject that does 'engage the senses'. Yet to be successful a student really needs to have had Geometry before taking it. :)
 I made it 
  April 27, 2013
Quoting Gale Winthrope Why did I not have a teacher like you? David is right. Using Legos in class certainly would've made me focus a little better XD Love that picture too. Makes me miss summer even more.
What can I say... only some have been that lucky... hee, hee! And yes, I believe that pic was taken in mid June? :)
 I made it 
  April 27, 2013
Quoting David Alexander Smith Bringing Lego into the classroom would certainly have focused my attention. Nice photo taken by your hubby btw.
Yes, it was always an attention getter! Hubby has taken several gems that we have had framed and hang on the wall in our house! :)
 I like it 
  April 27, 2013
ALWAYS REMEMBER THE MENISCUS!!! Oh God, how I wish school was more accessible and universally tactile. This lesson is so simple that it's brilliant. What you have successfully done here is introduce art into chemistry and vice versa. Combining subjects is, in my opinion, the ONLY way to get students, and their parents, interested in learning. The circumspect, multi-front attack on the brain. I hope you still teach, Topsy.
 I made it 
  April 27, 2013
Quoting David Roberts The first photo is excellent. A simple build placed into a good photo and neatly blended together. Very creative and cleverly done.
Thanks, I suppose I was waiting for a idea of how to present such a simple build. :)
 I made it 
  April 27, 2013
Quoting Tim C Ha! What a clever way to bring the brick into the classroom. I have the utmost respect for what you do. Nice work finding a way to engage an increasingly hard-to-reach audience.
Well, I no longer teach as I am now retired. But, yes, I found that now days, many districts are strapped for money and can not keep up with the new technology, let alone basic supplies! I was one of the few that regularly maintained a website with info for my students, but I worked long hours outside the classroom to do so! :)
 I made it 
  April 27, 2013
Quoting Mister Lego ~ Nice demonstration! I did something a little like this last year, without Lego unfortunately.
Hee, hee... everything is better with LEGO! :)
 I like it 
  April 27, 2013
Why did I not have a teacher like you? David is right. Using Legos in class certainly would've made me focus a little better XD Love that picture too. Makes me miss summer even more.
 I like it 
  April 27, 2013
Bringing Lego into the classroom would certainly have focused my attention. Nice photo taken by your hubby btw.
 I like it 
  April 27, 2013
The first photo is excellent. A simple build placed into a good photo and neatly blended together. Very creative and cleverly done.
 I like it 
  April 27, 2013
Ha! What a clever way to bring the brick into the classroom. I have the utmost respect for what you do. Nice work finding a way to engage an increasingly hard-to-reach audience.
 I like it 
  April 27, 2013
Nice demonstration! I did something a little like this last year, without Lego unfortunately.
 
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LEGO models my own creation MOCpages toys shop The LEGO Lighthouse!LEGO in real life


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