Determining the volume of a plastic cup is a simple and fundamental scientific endeavour. Volume measurement is three dimensional and can be approximated with mathematics, or determined more precisely with actual volume measurements, or weight measurements using water and a scientific balance. Using all three methods will give students an idea of how precise or accurate each method is, and provide a basis for understanding scientific measurements.

- Skill level:
- Moderately Easy

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### Things you need

- Plastic cup
- Distilled water
- Scientific balance
- Eye dropper
- Graduated cylinder

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## Instructions

- 1
Approximate the volume using mathematics. Use the equation for a cylinder to estimate the volume. The volume of a cylinder is pi times radius squared times the height of the cylinder. Use an average of the radius at the top and bottom of the cup for estimation.

- 2
Measure the volume with a graduated cylinder. Fill the cup to the top with water.

- 3
Pour the contents of the cup into a graduated cylinder. Measure the volume to the smallest increment possible on the graduated cylinder. Dump out the water and repeat to determine how accurate this method is.

- 4
Measure the weight of water in the cup. Place the cup on a scientific balance and zero the balance.

- 5
Fill the cup with distilled water near to the top. Continue adding water with an eyedropper or syringe until it is completely full. Record the weight in grams.

- 6
Determine the volume. Distilled water weighs exactly 1 gram per millilitre. Millilitres is a volume measurement. Convert grams to millilitres 1:1 and you have the volume of the plastic cup. Compare the results from the three different methods to determine which is the most accurate.