Saturday 10 September 2011


Montessori Activity: Floating & Sinking Objects/浮沉

Age: From 2.5 years old

Activity Duration: 5 - 15 minutes

1. To teach the concept of why some things float and some sink.

Science Concept:
• Buoyant Force is an upward force exerted on all objects in fluids/water.

• Gravity pulls things down.

• If Buoyancy is stronger, an object floats, if gravity is stronger, an object sinks.

• The bigger the area of the object that’s touching the surface of the water the more likely it is to float.

• Objects full of air are more likely to float too because air is lighter than water.

• The huge cruiser liner ships made of iron and steel float because the hull (the bottom of the boat which is underwater) is full of air. It’s the air that enables the ship to float. If the hull were made of solid metal the ship would sink because it would be heavier than the water’s up thrust.

• If you are using a sponge, your child should see that the sponge will initially float, but as it becomes heavier, as it absorbs water, it will sink.

• Children may come to the conclusion that heavier objects generally tend to sink in water. However, make sure that children understand that weight is not the only factor.

1. A basket containing objects that float (e.g. apple, orange, wooden block, pencil, bathtub toy, tennis ball, ping pong ball, styrofoam, plastic container with lid, plastic cup, popsicle stick, cork, eraser, feather, plastic bottles, paper, plastic plate, fanta colour peg, hazelnut, leave, etc.) and objects that sink (e.g. metal teaspoon, key, stone, pebble, marble, coin, chalk, sponge, lego brick, rubberband, rubber ball, oil pastls, etc.)

2. Large container or bowl half-filled with water

3. 1 paper written with the title "Float"

4. 1 paper written with the title "Sink"

1. Put all the objects neatly in front of your child with the bowl of water behind them.

2. Tell your child that he is going to find out which objects float and which sink.

3. Demonstrate by picking up the first object and say whether you think it will float or sink. (In the next round, ask your child, whether the object will float or sink."

4. Then drop the object gently into the water and see if it float or sink.

5. If it floats, put the object on the paper entitled "Float". If the object sinks, put the object on the paper entitled "Sink".

We put a stone into the container with lid, and closed the lid. It floated. So although stone sinks, it floats, if it is put into a plastic container with lid.

Video Demonstration:

Additional Information:
Joshua tried this on 11.9.2011 (2Y6M6D) and he enjoyed it a lot, because it was an activity with water!

This is a fantastic book providing hands-on guide on Montessori activities that is practical, simple and easy to follow. The book also provides lots of ideas on using simple equipment that you can find at home. I found this idea in this book:

Teach ME to Do It Myself by Maja Pitamic

soda-bottle cap,

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