If you are looking for a guaranteed hit science project for kids , look no farther! I know it seems simple but any science project that involves water is pretty much guaranteed to be a success!
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Floaters and Sinkers
- Water table or large bucket or plastic storage container
- A collection of objects
- Two bins to sort the objects into Floaters and Sinkers categories
Prior to doing the project we talked about density by passing around an apple and potato so the kids could see that even though they are the same size one is heavier than the other (a rock would have been better than the potato!)
- I told the kids in advance that they had to make a PREDICTION (a good guess) about whether or not an object would sink of float.
- Have the kids place (or drop….) the objects in the water to see if their prediction is right.
- Sort the different objects into the appropriate bin, Floaters or Sinkers
I had hoped to keep the whole thing organized by letting children go two at a time and announcing their prediction in front of their friends but as soon we started they surrounded the water table like ants to a piece of fried chicken. To their credit they all shouted out their predictions before dropping their objects in the water! After sorting the objects into separate bins we dumped the objects back on a table and started all over again!
Peggy Ashbrook says
Love your imagery! “…they surrounded the water table like ants to a piece of fried chicken.”
My preschoolers also love testing if objects will sink or float. I hope at the end of their intense exploration they will understand that heavy objects do sometimes float, leading to the understanding that something other than the weight of an object is at work here. Density is a difficult concept–no need to introduce it until much later– but this activity is a good foundation for later learning. We often use a large pumpkin or other squash as the heavy object.