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Submarine: Soda Cup Lander

Source Institutions

    University of California San Diego

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Submarine: Soda Cup Lander

In this activity (on page 2), learners create a submarine using a plastic cup. This is a fun way to learn about buoyancy and density. Extensions for this activity, such as adding a propeller or manometer, are also included.
Note: You will also need access to a tank or swimming pool to watch your submarine dive.
Safety note: Learners will need an adult's help to drill holes in the film canister. Learners will also need an adult's help if they use a glue gun to attach the film canister to the plastic cup.

Quick Guide

Preparation Time:
Under 5 minutes

Learning Time:
10 to 30 minutes

Estimated Materials Cost:
$1 - $5 per student

Age Range:
Ages 8 - 14

Resource Types:
Activity, Lesson/Lesson Plan


Materials List (per student)

  • Plastic cup
  • 35mm film canister and lid
  • Alka Seltzer tablet
  • Pennies
  • Duct tape
  • Paper clips
  • Rubber bands
  • 4 washers
  • Hot glue gun with glue OR Velcro
  • A drill


  • Earth and Space Science
    • Earth Structure
      • Oceans and Water
  • Engineering and Technology
    • Engineering
      • Mechanical Engineering
    • Technology
      • Manufacturing
  • Physical Sciences
    • Chemistry
      • Chemical Reactions
    • Motion and Forces
      • Machines
      • Gravity
    • States of Matter
      • Solids
      • Liquids
      • Gases
    • Structure and Properties of Matter
      • Atomic Structure
      • Mass and Weight
      • Volume and Density

Informal Categories

  • Model Building
  • Transportation


To use this activity, learners need to:

  • see
  • touch

Learning styles supported:

  • Involves hands-on or lab activities


Access Rights:

  • Free access


  • Cameron, James; Hardy, Kevin


  • UC San Diego, 2013


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