Root Beer Float

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In this quick activity/demonstration about density, learners examine what happens when two cans of root beer--one diet and one regular--are placed in a large container of water. Do they sink or float? Use this activity to introduce learners to the importance of density as well as the nutritional content of soft drinks. [Activity is publicly available through a web crawler capture on]

Quick Guide

Preparation Time:
Under 5 minutes

Learning Time:
Under 5 minutes

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

Age Range:
Ages 4 - 14

Resource Types:
Activity, Demonstration


Materials List (per group of students)

  • One can of root beer
  • One can of diet root beer
  • A large container of water. A deep sink or bathtub full of water will work fine.


  • Life Sciences
    • Human Body
      • Health and Nutrition
  • Mathematics
    • Measurement
  • Physical Sciences
    • Structure and Properties of Matter
      • Volume and Density
  • The Nature of Science
    • The Scientific Process
      • Conducting Investigations
      • Formulating Explanations

Informal Categories

  • Food and Cooking


To use this activity, learners need to:

  • see
  • touch

Learning styles supported:

  • Involves hands-on or lab activities


Access Rights:

  • Free access



  • All rights reserved, Little Shop of Physics, 2009