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Reading Selection, Lesson 2

Useful Calculations

Volume is a measure of space taken up by some matter. In this module, the units cubic centimeters or milliliters are used when measuring volume. Because 1 milliliter equals 1 cubic centimeter, these units are interchangeable.

The volume that something takes up can be measured in several different ways. A graduated cylinder can be used to measure the volume of liquids. The exterior dimensions of regular solid objects can be measured to calculate their volume. For example, the volume (measured in cubic centimeters) of a block can be calculated by measuring the block’s length (l), height (h), and width (w) in centimeters and then multiplying these together, as shown in the following equation:

Volume of a block =
l (centimeter) x h (centimeter) x
w (centimeter) = volume in cubic centimeters

Different formulas can be used to calculate the volume of other regular objects (such as cylinders or spheres). Volumes of solids can also be measured indirectly by using a graduated cylinder. This method is done by the displacement of water. You used this method in Inquiry 1.2.

Mass is a measure of the amount of matter in an object. In this module, gram is used as the unit for measuring mass. Mass can be measured using a balance.

The density of a substance is the mass of a known volume of a substance. It is usually measured in grams per cubic centimeter.

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