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The Science of Floaty


Research Question

How much mass can be put on a buoyant

object to displace a certain amount of
water, and how many can I put before it
sinks? How can I predict such an outcome
with a math equation that I can create?


If I add enough mass, then the buoyant

object will displace a certain amount of
water or sink because this is what the
Archimedes principle states.

Materials: 2 buoyant objects (A and B, front, A = 10g, B = 1g), 2
bowls (green, to hold the water), 2 plastic bowls (A and B, back,
A = 4g, B = 47g), a pounds worth of lead fishing sinkers (left
ones are 1 oz [28.35g], right ones are 2 oz [56.7g]), and a scale.


1. Put the green bowl in the big plastic bowl after filling it with
water as much as possible without spilling out.

2. put 3 ounces of mass in the buoyant objects.

3. Put these objects in the water in the green bowl, and let them
displace the water so that it falls into the big plastic bowl.

4. Take out the green bowl and buoyant object and weigh the plastic
bowl in grams, factoring out its weight, to find the weight of the
water inside it.

5. Repeat steps 1-4 nine more times, then make an average of the
numbers you have.

6. Repeat steps 1-5, but replace 3 ounces of mass with 4 and 5


Average Misplaced Water (in grams)

Data Collected
Misplaced Water (in grams)

Object A


Object B


85.05 g (3 oz)

113.4 g (4 oz)

Objects and Their Weights

141.75 g (5 oz)

Data Analysis
The data shown in the last slide is an
average of all ten of my measurements for each
object and mass. The data shows how much
water in grams was displaced when I used
certain objects with certain weights. The
information I found makes a conclusion for my
hypothesis extremely hard, because there are
no trends. There is not a steady incline of how
much water is displaced; it is random every
time, and thats just using an average. Its not
easy to make an equation like that, especially
when youre just a sixth grader.


Sadly, I have to say that my results are inconclusive on the

equation side of things. It became harder to measure when
the object started sinking even further into the water when
more weight was added, and my results are just not related
enough to each other to be measured in a way that can be
put in an equation; there arent any trends, its just all
random. Despite this, with the results I got, I can say that
volume is a much bigger factor in displacing water than mass
is, because while mass will help push an object further into
the water and make it displace with its extra weight, volume
will determine how much water is displaced in the first place.
Also, while I cannot make an equation for it, I did learn that
to sink an object, you must put enough weight in the buoyant
object until it weighs more than the water that it misplaces.


Math Teacher, Lynda Corlett


I went out to see if I could find an equation to

predict how much weight a buoyant object can hold,
and how many it would take to sink it. I knew that if I
put enough weight, I could make the object displace a
certain amount of water, or even sink that object, as
the Archimedes principle states. I took a bowl and put
it in a bigger one, and filled the small bowl with water.
I put two diferent shaped objects in these bowls and
put diferent amounts of mass in them to see how
much water would be displaced by them. In the end,
my results were inconclusive, but I feel that I learned
important things about buoyancy along the way.

The End!