Floating Golf Ball

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Visitors observe a graduated cylinder with a golf ball floating about halfway in liquid. The bottom half of the cylinder contains a concentrated solution of salt. This salt solution has a greater density than has the golf ball, so the ball floats on this layer. The top half of the cylinder contains colored water. The colored water is less dense than the salt solution, so it floats on top of the salt solution and the golf ball sinks in it.

Quick Guide

Preparation Time:
10 to 30 minutes

Learning Time:
Under 5 minutes

Estimated Materials Cost:
$1 - $5 per group of students

Age Range:
Ages 6 - 14

Resource Type:


Materials List (per group of students)

  • One golf ball
  • One 250-ml beaker
  • H2O (water)
  • One stirring rod
  • ¼ Cup NaCl (sodium chloride, table salt)
  • One 500-ml graduated cylinder (or other tall, clear container), preferably plastic
  • Food coloring
  • Plexiglas barrier (from general storage)


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


To use this activity, learners need to:

  • see
  • see color
  • read

Learning styles supported:

  • Involves hands-on or lab activities


This resource is part of:

Access Rights:

  • Free access



Funding Source:

  • National Science Foundation