Density: Make a golf ball float!

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In this activity (on page 2 of the PDF), the learner places a golf ball between salt water and colored fresh water. The golf ball is not as dense as the saltwater. Therefore, the ball floats on top of the saltwater. The colored fresh water is not as dense as the golf ball, so the ball sinks in the colored water. Eventually, the saltwater and the colored fresh water mix. As the waters mix, the ball will sink. This is a take-home version of the display Floating Golf Ball in the Nature of Matter unit in OMSI's Chemistry Lab. This in one of three activities in the Take Home guide for the Nature of Matter unit in OMSI's Chemistry Lab. The other two activities are Crystals and Layered Liquids.

Quick Guide

Preparation Time:
5 to 10 minutes

Learning Time:
5 to 10 minutes

Estimated Materials Cost:
$1 - $5 per student

Age Range:
Ages 6 - 14

Resource Types:
Activity, Experiment/Lab Activity


Materials List (per student)

  • golf ball
  • water
  • salt
  • a tall, thin, transparent container slightly larger than the golf ball, for example a vase
  • food coloring
  • mixing container
  • stirring spoon
  • masking tape
  • pen


  • Physical Sciences
    • Chemistry
      • Solutions
    • States of Matter
      • Solids
      • Liquids
    • Structure and Properties of Matter
      • Volume and Density


To use this activity, learners need to:

  • see
  • touch

Learning styles supported:

  • Involves hands-on or lab activities


This resource is part of:

Access Rights:

  • Free access



Funding Source:

  • National Science Foundation