Buoyancy Bulls-Eye

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In this hands-on activity, learners will construct a scuba diver that can float in order to explore how sea creatures stay neutrally buoyant in the ocean and to see what kinds of forces might be influencing their buoyancy. By adding materials such as balloons, rubber bands, toothpicks, pennies, etc. to their figure, they will try to make it neutrally buoyant in a bucket of water. This lesson plan includes discussion questions, key vocabulary, and is standards-based. [Activity is publicly available through a web crawler capture on Archive.org.]

Quick Guide

Preparation Time:
5 to 10 minutes

Learning Time:
30 to 45 minutes

Estimated Materials Cost:
$5 - $10 per group of students

Age Range:
Ages 11 - 14

Resource Types:
Activity, Experiment/Lab Activity, Lesson/Lesson Plan, Simulation


Materials List (per group of students)

  • small action figures (one per student)
  • small rubber balloons (bag of 100)
  • rubber bands (box of 100)
  • tooth picks (box of 100)
  • pennies (at least 100)
  • masking tape (one roll per group)
  • paperclips (box of 100)
  • buckets (one per group)
  • water from the faucet
  • Buoyancy Bulls-Eye Worksheet (one per student)


  • Physical Sciences
    • Structure and Properties of Matter
      • Mass and Weight
      • Volume and Density
  • The Nature of Science
    • The Scientific Process
      • Conducting Investigations
  • The Nature of Technology
    • The Design Process
      • Problem Solving


To use this activity, learners need to:

  • see
  • touch


Includes alignment to state and/or national standards:

Access Rights:

  • Free access


  • California Academy of Sciences


  • , California Academy of Sciences, 2008