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Changing the Density of an Object: Adding Material

Source Institutions

    American Chemical Society

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Changing the Density of an Object: Adding Material

Learners see that a can of regular cola sinks while a can of diet cola floats. As a demonstration, bubble wrap is taped to the can of regular cola to make it float. Learners will use this idea to make an object that is more dense than water float.

Quick Guide

Preparation Time:
5 to 10 minutes

Learning Time:
10 to 30 minutes

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

Age Range:
Ages 8 - 14

Resource Types:
Activity, Demonstration, Experiment/Lab Activity, Lesson/Lesson Plan


Materials List (per group of students)

  • Water
  • Large clear plastic container
  • Can of regular cola
  • Can of diet cola
  • Small water-resistant item that sinks
  • Small water-resistant items that float like zip-closing plastic bags, styrofoam pieces, cork, empty film canisters with lids, etc.
  • Tape, rubber bands, string, etc.
  • Student Activity Sheet


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

Informal Categories

  • Food and Cooking


To use this activity, learners need to:

  • see
  • touch

Learning styles supported:

  • Involves hands-on or lab activities


Components that are part of this resource:

This resource is part of:

Access Rights:

  • Free access


  • Kessler, James H.; Galvan, Patricia M.


  • All Rights Reserved, American Chemical Society, ©2007