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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. . 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!


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