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Float Your Boat

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Float Your Boat

In this physics activity, learners will explore buoyancy. They will use a variety of objects to practice their prediction skills (what will and won't float) and discover why some things are more buoyant than others. In the "What's Going On?" section, there is a tie-in to the Titanic and why large ships can float. This was originally designed as part of a Family Workshop for all members of the family to work together; however, it can easily be used in other ways.

Quick Guide

Preparation Time:
5 to 10 minutes

Learning Time:
10 to 30 minutes

Estimated Materials Cost:
1 cent - $1 per student

Age Range:
Ages 4 - adult

Resource Types:
Activity, Experiment/Lab Activity


Materials List (per student)

  • Objects of various weights, sizes and shapes, including Styrofoam peanuts, paper clips and pennies
  • Crown/Bottle Cap
  • Eyedropper or Pipette
  • Cloth Towel
  • Large dish tub of water or a small plastic drinking cup for each of the participants


  • Physical Sciences
    • Structure and Properties of Matter
      • Mass and Weight
      • Volume and Density
  • The Nature of Science
    • The Scientific Process
      • Asking Questions
      • Conducting Investigations
      • Gathering Data
      • Formulating Explanations

Informal Categories

  • Transportation


To use this activity, learners need to:

  • see
  • touch

Learning styles supported:

  • Uses STEM to solve real-world problems
  • Involves hands-on or lab activities


Access Rights:

  • Free access



  • All Rights Reserved, COSI Columbus, ©2009


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