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Buoyancy Lesson

# Buoyancy Lesson

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Students learn about density and buoyancy. Students make tin foil boats and see how many pennies they can carry.
Students learn about density and buoyancy. Students make tin foil boats and see how many pennies they can carry.

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05/02/2013

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Last Updated: September 5
th
, 2008.
Buoyancy Lesson Plan
Lesson Objectives:

Understand the concept of density

Understand the concept of buoyancy

Be able to apply these concepts to real-world examples
Supplies:

One can of Coke, one can of Diet Coke

Three small Tupperware (one filled with sand, one with beans, and one withcotton)

Tin Foil

Pennies

Large tub to be filled with waterNote for this lesson that experiment 2 “Aluminum Foil Boats” takes significantly longerthan experiment 1 “Diet Coke v. Coke”. The tutors giving this lesson should take this intoaccount and make sure that they leave sufficient time to complete experiment 2. In thepast, students have really enjoyed experiment 2, so try your best to make as much timefor this experiment as you can. Good luck!
Tutor introductions:
Introduce yourself. Tell the students where you go to school, what your major is,how old you are, etc. You will be working with this class for several weeks, so it’s goodto get to know them!
Experiment 1: Diet Coke v. Coke (~20 min total)
Supplies: One can of Coke, one can of Diet Coke, three Tupperware (one filled with sand,one with beans, and one with cotton), and a large tub filled with water.
1.

(10 min.) Show the students the three Tupperware containers and explain thatyou are going to put them in the water.
Ask them to make a hypothesis
aboutwhich ones will sink and which ones will float, and tally their answers on theboard.

Last Updated: September 5
th
, 2008.
a.

Place the Tupperware in the water
one at a time to verify the students’hypothesis. Talk about why some floated and why some sank.b.

Introduce the concept of
density
.
Density is mass divided by volume,and it is what we use to determine if something will sink or float in water.(You may want to
make sure the students are comfortable with theconcept of mass and volume
). If the object is
denser
than water, it willsink, and if it is
less dense
it will float.2.

(10 min.) Now s
how them the two equal-sized cans of soda, and ask them toform another hypothesis
: will both sink, both float, or one sink and which one?a.

Drop the cans into the water at the same time. Let them settle.
Do this

again or let one of the students try so they can see there is no trick.
Recordthe result on the board.b.

Ask the students based on the experiment, which can of soda is moremassive and why?
If they are having trouble, remind them of thedefinition of density and ask them which is denser (the regular coke isdenser because it sank while the diet coke floated). If they are still havingtrouble, explain that the denser can must be more massive because theyboth have the same volume. The regular Coke has more “stuff” in thesame sized can. See if they can guess what the difference might be. (It islikely the sugar in the regular Coke that makes it more dense than the dietCoke).
Experiment 2: Aluminum Foil Boats (Remaining lesson time)
Supplies for each group: about 2 ft of foil (and an extra in reserve in case of tearing), onebucket filled with water, bag of pennies.
1.

(5 min)
Divide the class into groups of 3-4 students.
Distribute the foil to eachgroup. Explain that
they are to build a boat out of the foil
to hold as manypennies as possible without sinking.
Draw an example boat on the board without being too specific. Let them figure out how to best build their boat.
2.

(15 min.)
Students make their boats.
Wander around the classroom to makesure no one has any questions.