Sink or Float?


Have you ever tossed some sticks
into a pond? Or maybe you like to bring a bunch of toys into the tub! Either way, you’ve probably found that not
all objects act the same when they’re in the water. Some things sink right to the bottom, while
other things float on the top. Why does that happen? Well I brought in some friends to see if we
can figure that out! Hi everyone! My name’s Webb and hi and I’m his sister, Bill! Since we live
in a pond, we see a lot of things sink and a lot of things that float! I bet! You know, you can actually learn a lot about
something by seeing what it does in the water. So, I’d say this calls for an experiment! [Music] First, we’ll need a pretty big container
of water. We’ll fill it about three-quarters full, and set it up where it’s okay
if some splashes out. Now we need some stuff to put in the water. All kinds of different stuff! We’re gonna look for a couple things around the fort that are okay to get wet. If you want to try this experiment at home, make sure you ask before
you put anything from your house into the water! Let’s see what we found! Alright … Squeaks found a penny, I found a stick, and Bill and Webb, they found two different spoons,
a metal one, and a plastic one. Good job guys! Now, before we get started, let’s take a
closer look at what we’ll be testing. All of these things are made out of different
materials, like metal, plastic, and wood. Some of them are pretty small, and some are
a little bit bigger. I think we have a pretty good group of objects, because they’re all pretty different! Now, before we start putting things in the
water, let’s guess whether each one will sink, or float. And let’s keep track of
our guesses, but, how will we… [Squeaks squeaks] Great idea Squeaks! We’ll use a chart! Alright, let’s start with the stick. Bill, Webb,
what do you think? Will it will sink, or float? [Ducks quacking] Well! I, I can tell you guys are pretty excited! Tell us what you’re thinking. Well, in the pond where we live, I’ve never
seen sticks that have sunk, only ones that float. Well, that’s because you haven’t seen the ones
that’ve sunk. Well that’s because they all float Webb. Ok fine! Put me and Bill down for the stick
floats. Ok! Here we go. And it floats! Good job
you two! Yay! Woooo! Next, let’s try the metal spoon. What do you think? Will it sink…or float? I’ve never seen a spoon float. Me neither. [Ducks quacking] We think it’ll sink! Ok! Let’s see. It sinks! Woo! We’re the smartest ducks in the world! Yeah! Now what about the plastic spoon? Do you think it will sink, or float? [Ducks quacking] Well, it’s the same shape as the other spoon. Yeah! And, we think it might sink, just like the metal
spoon did. Okay, let’s see. It floats! Awww bummer! Well, that’s okay, guys, that’s how
we learn, right? Yeah, I guess. It’s just weird! The other spoon sank! Well, let’s record our results and see if we can
find out why it sank after we test our next object. Our next object, will be the penny.
Do you think it will sink…or float? Hmmmm… well, a penny feels a lot like a metal spoon. So… I think it’ll sink. Alright, and Webb what do you think? Well it’s so light, but kind of small,
and I don’t usually see things that small floating…uhh… I’ll have to agree with my sister
this time. It’s gonna sink. It sinks! Good Job! [Celebrating] Woo-hoo! Now that we’ve tested all of our objects,
let’s look at our chart. Some of the objects floated, and some of them sank. Let’s see… …the metal spoon and the penny sank…
…the plastic spoon, and the stick floated. Is there anything that’s the same about
the things that floated and the things that sank? Well, we know that the metal things sank.
And the metal spoon feels kind of heavy… …but so does the stick…and the stick floated,
while the spoon sank. So maybe it’s not all about how much something weighs or it’s
shape? You’re right! And that might help us explain why some things float and some things sink. The answer has to do with something called density. Everything, and I mean EVERYTHING, is made
of tiny particles that we can’t see. And how dense an object is depends on how much
space is between those particles. Particles? Jessi, what the quack is a particle? Now, that’s an awesome question! Let’s
use our imaginations and pretend that particles are marbles. We’ll start with a bunch of
marbles on a table. If you had the marbles all right next to each other, that’s kind
of how the particles would look inside an object that’s dense … like the metal spoon. But if those marbles were spaced really far
apart, that’d be more like what the particles are like in something that’s less dense
… like the plastic spoon. The metal spoon is more dense than the plastic
spoon. It’s about the same size and shape, but the particles that make it up are closer
together than the particles that make up the plastic one. But remember! Everything has density…including
water! Whhhaaatt? It’s true! Since water has it’s own density,
if something is more dense than the water it’s in, it’ll sink. The metal spoon and the penny were more dense
than the water, so they sank… and the stick and the plastic spoon were less
dense than the water…so they floated. So, will it sink, or will it float? It depends,
in part, on density! How did your experiment go? Did you make some wrong guesses like us? I bet you got some right! Let us know what you use in your experiment,
and how it turns out! Just get help from a grown up and leave us a note in the comments
below, or send us a picture at [email protected]! And we’ll see you next time! Bye!

100 thoughts on “Sink or Float?”

  1. I'm trying to understand density more but they all lead to the same question in which I get no answer to and that is "what's the density of water? what will the object have to weigh in order for it to sink?"

  2. We made a chart and measured the density with the water in a good sized foot-bath outside. We used the objects that follow:
    A gum wrapper (floated, we were correct) 2fl. oz. bottle of lotion (we think because the 59ml of the object is distributed between the bottle, it floated, rather than sinking, which is what we thought, so we were wrong) A cough drop in a wrapper (we guessed it would float, and we were right) a peach (we guessed it would sink, but just the very tippy top of the peach was sticking out above the water, so it actually floated) and finally, a clear, plastic, medicine cup, about 12ml tall, which we guessed would float, AND WE WERE RIGHT! So we got 3/5, or 60%, correct.

  3. Great video! I am a teacher in a public school. Did a mini lab with my 5th graders before watching this video. It was a great reinforcer. We used dice, a penny, candle, bead, and metal cube. Don't won't to spoil the results try it out! Thank you.

  4. Thank you! Shared this video with my Kinders after we did a Sink/Float science experience. I was trying to figure out how to explain what causes things to sink or float in a simple form. Using the marbles as "particles" really helped them understand. Thanks!

  5. penny and metal spoon has the same material (made of metal) and they are sink. how about the ship? isn't it made of metal too? but it floats on the water. so it's not only the density of an object that affects whether it floats or sinks.
    The shape of an object also affect whether it floats or sinks.

  6. We used shells and they both sunk but one floated if we turned it so it looked like a boat. We also floated a plastic bottle, some lego, a pencil, a wooden block and a plastic plate. We sunk lots of things to, like the metal bowl with holes, the marble run cylinder, a paper clip, a magnet, a metal spoon, a lion toy and Mr Potato head's eyes. We also tried floating a lego truck which half floated and half sank!

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