Sink or Swim?

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Learners observe a tank of water containing cans of diet and regular sodas. The diet sodas float and the regular sodas sink. All the cans contain the same amount of liquid and the same amount of air. However, the sugar in regular sodas makes them denser than water so they sink. This is written as an exhibit, but can easily be adapted to become a demonstration or hands-on activity.

Quick Guide

Preparation Time:
Under 5 minutes

Learning Time:
5 to 10 minutes

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

Age Range:
Ages 6 - 14

Resource Types:
Activity, Exhibit


Materials List (per group of students)

  • One can of regular soft drink
  • One can of diet soft drink
  • One 5-gal plastic aquarium
  • Water


  • Physical Sciences
    • Structure and Properties of Matter
      • Mass and Weight
      • Volume and Density

Informal Categories

  • Food and Cooking
  • Science Festivals Activity


To use this activity, learners need to:

  • see
  • read

Learning styles supported:

  • Involves hands-on or lab activities


This resource is part of:

Access Rights:

  • Free access



Funding Source:

  • National Science Foundation