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Learners experiment with a 2-liter plastic bottle containing water and four “divers." The divers consist of open, transparent containers with the opening points downward. Each diver has a different amount of air trapped inside. As learners squeeze the sides of the bottle, water rises in the diver containers, and the air inside the divers compresses. This makes the divers sink, float, or hover depending on the amount of pressure the learners apply. This activity is a nice interactive experiment to display concepts of buoyancy and density.

Quick Guide

Preparation Time:
10 to 30 minutes

Learning Time:
10 to 30 minutes

Estimated Materials Cost:
1 cent - $1 per group of students

Age Range:
Ages 6 - adult

Resource Type:


Materials List (per group of students)

  • One 2-liter plastic soft drink bottle with cap
  • Four jumbo plastic pipettes
  • Four metal nuts with an interior diameter just smaller than the outer diameter of the stem of the pipettes
  • Electrical tape


  • Physical Sciences
    • Chemistry
    • States of Matter
      • Gases
    • Structure and Properties of Matter
      • Volume and Density

Informal Categories

  • Toys


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