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Float or Sink? | CMSMatHome

Float or Sink? CMSM at Home activity from the Children's Museum of Southern Minnesota

Float or Sink?

Today we’ll test boats made from found materials to see which ones will float, and which ones will not.

  • Let’s play with water. Choose a bath tub, sink, or any container that won’t leak.
  • Now, let’s build a vessel that holds more than 5 pennies.
  • What can we build with? Paper, popsicle sticks, aluminum foil, wax paper, bottle caps and lids, recycled yogurt cups, rubber bands, bamboo skewers and toothpicks…
  • What do you see? Which materials float on their own? Can you add pennies to your boat? How many can it hold?

Further Your Experiment

  • Talk about what happens before the boat sinks. Where does the water start coming into your vessel?
  • What can you change to make it float better? Is it the material, the boat’s shape, or size?
  • Which one of your boats can carry the most weight?
  • Which one can travel the farthest distance?
  • What material floats the best?
  • Can you get the boat to move without touching it with your hands? How?
  • How many pennies can your boat hold, and still float?

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