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In this lesson, students will explore the density of substances as a model for understanding the mass to light ratio as a predictor of dark matter. They will measure and calculate mass and volume to calculate the density of a foam ball. Students will try to explain a discrepant event when data is not as expected (in this case a nerf ball that seems too heavy for its volume). Students will then use the concept of density, a ratio of mass to volume, to attempt to explain the mass to light ratio for luminosity and gravity. Advance preparation required. Materials needed for this activity include: small foam balls, tape measure, triple beam balance for each group, posterboards/construction paper, and markers (estimated materials cost doesn't include triple beam balances). This lesson is part of the Cosmic Times teachers guide and is intended to be used in conjunction with the 1965 Cosmic Times Poster.
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