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Math and Measurement (31 Favorites)

LAB in Introduction, Measurements. Last updated May 30, 2017.


In this lab, students will practice introductory math skills that will be used in chemistry all year. This includes metric conversion, significant figures, scientific notation, dimensional analysis, density, percent error, accuracy and precision, as well as using lab equipment.

Grade Level

High School


By the end of this lab, students should be able to

  • Use lab equipment to measure volume, mass, and length to the correct number of significant figures.
  • Convert units using dimensional analysis.
  • Calculate percent error.
  • Calculate density and be able to explain why the density of an object does not change.

Chemistry Topics

This lab supports students’ understanding of

  • Metric conversion
  • Significant figures
  • Scientific notation
  • Dimensional analysis
  • Density
  • Percent error
  • Accuracy and precision


Teacher Preparation: 30 minutes (enough time to gather each stations materials)

Lesson: 45 minutes


Five Stations

  • Part A
    • Long object (example: a rod from a ring stand)
    • Meter stick
    • Short object (example: a popsicle stick)
    • Ruler
    • 100 ml graduated cylinder with colored water (to a volume of your choosing)
    • 10 ml graduated cylinder with colored water (to a volume of your choosing)
  • Part B
    • Meter stick
  • Part C
    • Scale
    • 50 ml graduated cylinder
    • Marble
  • Part D
    • Scale
    • Ruler
    • Two identical blocks (this can be any regular shaped object that you have two of)
  • Part E
    • 50 ml graduated cylinder
    • Scale


  • Always wear safety goggles when handling chemicals in the lab.
  • Students should wash their hands thoroughly before leaving the lab.
  • When students complete the lab, instruct them how to clean up their materials and dispose of any chemicals.

Teacher Notes

  • I do this lab two days before my math and measurement unit exam as a review. We go over everything the next day before students turn it in and then the test is the following day.
  • Assign the pre-lab as homework before the lab day.
  • Before beginning, review how to properly take a measurement (estimating one past the line).
  • This lab works well in small groups that rotate. The length of time spent at each station should be determined by your class period length divided into five (after you have allotted for pre-lab discussion time).
  • To have a real-world aspect, you can have students read Crash of Flight of 143 from the October 1996 issue of ChemMatters magazine.

For the Student


As you work through the measurements in this lab, pay special attention to unit conversions. Measurements should be taken with precision and calculations must have correct significant figures. Show your work using dimensional analysis for all of the conversions in each part of the lab. Circle your final answers to each question.

Prelab Questions

1. What is the formula needed to calculate area of a room?

2. What is the formula needed to calculate volume of a room?

3. What is the formula for calculating density?

4. What is the formula for calculating percent error?

5. Convert 2.00 m2 to ft2. (remember to show all work using dimensional analysis)

6. When you are making measurements, how should you estimate the last significant digit?

1 inch = 2.54 cm 1 foot = 12 inches 1 mile = 1.61 km 5,280 feet = 1 mile
Calculations to use:

*look up nano and giga


Chemistry is a mathematically based science. In this lab you will practice several mathematical processes that will be used during various units throughout the year.