Get Wild with Wet Foam!

Contributor: Kaitlyn Zimmerman. Lesson ID: 12482

What's a centimeter? It's not a machine used to measure pennies, but it does have to do with measurement! Measuring things that change over time, like height, is simple using graphs and centimeters!


Elementary, Scientific Method

learning style
personality style
Golden Retriever
Grade Level
Primary (K-2)
Lesson Type
Quick Query

Lesson Plan - Get It!

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Do you know what happens to foam when it gets wet? You probably do, but let's study the results scientifically! It may make taking a bath or washing the car more interesting!

In the last Measurement series Related Lesson, found in the right-hand sidebar, you learned about measurements!

Not only that, but you also learned how to measure objects in both inches and centimeters. Before you begin your next lesson, here's a quick review from what you learned last time:

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Great job, scientist! It is important to remember that centimeters are shorter than inches and that the most commonly-used system of measurement in the world is the metric system (which uses centimeters). If you ever get confused about which side of the ruler is inches or centimeters, always remember that centimeters are smaller, so more centimeters can fit on a ruler than inches, as seen in the picture below (In the picture, the inches are along the top of the ruler and the centimeters are along the bottom of the ruler.):


  • Do you remember what happened to the measurements when you measured the ice in the last experiment?
  • As the ice melted, did the measurements get longer or shorter?

In this lesson, you are going to measure an object that is expanding instead of melting! And you will now begin graphing your measurements as you continue to measure an object that is growing. When creating a graph, it should look similiar to the graph below:

x and y axis graph

The line that rises up on the left is called the "y-axis." The line that runs right is called the "x-axis." You will learn how to use a graph to graph your measurements! You are going to do that by placing foam in water. Foam can be found in a lot of things we use every day: styrofoam cups, packing peanuts, many craft items, and even the insulation we use to keep our homes warm in the winter and cool in the summer! In case you didn’t know, foam has the amazing ability to expand when it gets wet!

  • Sounds kind of strange, right?

Why don’t you head on over to Dr. Z to get a better idea of how to measure and graph objects in centimeters?

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Knowing how to use a graph is really important and useful, especially when graphing the measurements of an object that is changing over time.

  • Have you ever used a graph to record data before today?
  • If so, when did you use a graph and what were you recording?
  • If not, when and how do you think a graph could be useful?

Continue on to the Got It? section to start creating your own graph!

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