Lesson plan

Sink or Float

Introduce your students to the scientific concept of sink or float. This hands-on experiment allows them to see which objects sink and which float. The concepts taught will be solidified with the completion of worksheets.
GradeSubjectView aligned standards

No standards associated with this content.

No standards associated with this content.

Which set of standards are you looking for?

  • Students will work in small groups to test whether objects sink or float and describe their findings orally.
(5 minutes)
Floating and SinkingWhat is Buoyancy?
  • Gather students in a group and tell them that they will be learning about sinking and floating.
  • Show them a tub filled with water and the objects that will be tested.
  • Define SinkAs the action of an object when it becomes submerged in a liquid. Define FloatAs the action of an object when it sits on the surface of a liquid.
(10 minutes)
  • Have students guess which objects will sink and which will float.
  • Tell students that lighter objects are more likely to stay on the surface of the water and heavier objects are more likely to sink to the bottom of the tub.
  • Drop a couple objects into the water to show students how you would like them to place the objects, avoiding splashing, and showing them what you are looking for to determine whether the object floats or sinks.
  • Make a "float" and a "sink" pile and put your objects in their corresponding pile.
(15 minutes)
  • Place the students in groups, one for each work station. Review the rules for collaborative group conversations by creating a poster titled "Group Work."
    1. Listen to others carefully
    2. Speak one at a time
    3. Talk about the text or topic
  • Have students give a thumbs up if they can agree to follow these rules for group discussions.
  • Ask group members to test one object at a time, placing them into their own "float" and "sink" piles as they finish. Have group members then discuss in their groups which objects sank and which objects floated.
  • As groups finish, go around and check their "sink" and "float" piles for correctness.
  • Ask students to clean up any spills that may have happened, then to return to their seats.
(10 minutes)
  • Discuss briefly some of the groups results. Allow volunteers to share some ideas with the whole class.
  • Hand out the Sink or Float? and Buoyancy worksheets.
  • Read out the definition of buoyancy from the Buoyancy worksheet. Ask students if they have any questions.
  • Rotate around the classroom and assist struggling students.
  • Have students turn in their worksheets when done.

Enrichment:Advanced students can test more objects or complete extra worksheets, such as Sink or Float? #2.

Support:Pair struggling students with students who have a strong understanding of the concepts presented. Offer additional help with worksheets.

(5 minutes)
  • Review students' "float" and "sink" piles as well as their worksheets to assess their levels of understanding.
  • Circulate and listen to group discussions. Offer suggestions where needed and monitor their ability to speak about the topic and text.
(10 minutes)
  • Gather students into a group.
  • Ask students if they were surprised by any of their results.
  • Review the concept of sink and float with them.
  • Read a book about sink and float. Ask students to discuss the text as a whole group and share details they learned from the book.

Add to collection

Create new collection

Create new collection

New Collection