Lesson plans

Water container

Updated: May 8, 2018

Title Water container 1.0 mL

Subject Physics

Aim To understand volume calculations. Students are to sketch on paper a rough design, and calculate the dimensions necessary to make the container hold exactly 1.0 mL. The next lesson they design the container in Tinkercad. Their design is printed between lessons. In the last lesson they test their calculations using a scale and a Vernier-caliper. Afterwards the sources of error are discussed.

End product/outcome Students have designed and printed the container, then measured the amount of water it can hold, and understood the sources of error between the prediction and the measurement.

Age group – 14-15 year old middle school science students

Group size 25 to 30; students are to work in groups of 2 or 3; this makes up to 15 projects to print; therefore prints will have to be printed outside teaching hours, and a print should not take longer than 30 min to print. Prints can be combined, so that five can be printed in one go during a night.

Estimated time (60 minute hours) – three lessons (it can be done in three lessons of 45min, but that is thight).


  • 1st lesson : paper to sketch, pencils and such, and calculators

  • 2nd lesson : computers to work via internet on Tinkercad tablets like iPads can be used, but with limited performance. For instance, one cannot enter exact dimensions.

  • Between lessons 2 and 3 : ample time on 3D printers

  • 3rd lesson : scales, pipettes to add water, Vernier-caliper to measure hole size.

Content/instructions (how to do it) – See student material MS Powerpoint presentations Watercontainer lesson 1.pptxgives introduction to project and to Tinkercad Watercontainer lesson 2.pptxshort overview of lesson Watercontainer lesson 3.pptxshort overview of lesson, incl . discussion on errors

Keywords/tags#3D design; #3D printing; #volume calculations; #measurement error

Sources for inspiration – 

Suggestions for student evalution / marking – 1) maximize mark depending on volume formula chosen : using a cube, score is at most 60% of maximum using a half sphere, score is at most 80% of maximum using an inverted pyramid of more complicated shape, score can reach 100%

2) give points for

correct use of formula completing design on paper first correctness of 3D design in Tinkercad creativity of outside accuracy of measuring volume

RED/GREEN (DO´s and Don´ts) – 

Make sure you have ample printing time. Size of watercontainer can be varied, but 1.0 mL with max. outside dimensions at 5cm allows short printing time…

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