Floating and sinking

Image: But does she float? by Pietro Bellini on Flickr

Floating and sinking is a popular topic with children, who often play with objects in the bath, pool or at the beach. The following online resources explore why some things float and others sink. SCIS 1698399

How Stuff Works
Explains how things float and features a related Mythbusters video clip on bouyancy.

Suggested level: intermediate


The What is Buoyancy section of this interactive educational site explores boats, canoes, ships, kayaks, and rafts and the one thing in common - they are used as transport on seas and rivers because they float.

Suggested level: primary

State of Victoria Department of education and training
Provides information for teachers about contrasting student and scientific views along with some critical thinking ideas and teacher activities.

Suggested level: primary, intermediate

Suzy’s World
Why do some things float and some things sink?

Suggested level: primary

To discover information on the school work site ManyAnswers, use the search term ‘buoyancy’.

Suggested level: primary


Buoyancy and Boats is a delightful interactive activity for younger children, which allows them to explore what makes a sinking object float or a floating object sink.

Suggested level: primary

Have you thought about using fiction with your class to support your topic? The following are some suggestions for your students (and you!) to read and enjoy.

Princess Hyacinth (the surprising tale of a girl who floated), by Florence Parry Heide, 2009 (picture book)
What floats in a moat? by Lynne Berry, 2013 (picture book)
Who sank the boat? by Pamela Allen, 2000 (picture book)
The terrible thing that happened to Barnaby Brocket, by John Boyne, 2012 (junior fiction)
Flash flood, by Andy Croft, 2009 (YA fiction)

Bill Nye -Bouyancy Youtube. 22.33

Float or sink? Cool science experiment (This video also exposes the disturbing amounts of sugar in cans of drink), Spangler science TV, YouTube 3:24