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The principles involved in making a boat float

  • This will become the metal "boat" you test;
  • So you see, if the total area of the object that makes contact with the water is large enough, the object floats;
  • What do you have to do to make it sink?
  • Can you find any other items that are almost unsinkable?

Try It Out Ahoy matey! Did today's Wonder of the Day really float your boat?

Principles of Flotation science experiment

If so, be sure to explore the following activities with a friend or family member: What kinds of things float? What things tend to sink?

Make a list of things that float and sink and compare and contrast the items on your list. What do the things that sink have in common?

  1. This will become the metal "boat" you test. However, the density of the ball was changing—it increased as the ball's diameter decreased.
  2. Rumple the aluminum such that the marked corners stay together and are visible in one spot.
  3. Some things just seem to float really well. Immediately observe the ball.
  4. Can you imagine that?
  5. For each diameter of the sphere, what is the mass of the water that was displaced?

What about the things that float? Does that match up with what you learned in today's Wonder of the Day? Don't limit yourself to things in the water either! Can you think of things that float in the air?

Have You Ever Wondered...

Ready for some bathtub fun? Pick out one of the following crafts and make your own homemade boat! Be sure to check the list of supplies, just in case you need to go to the store first to get something you'll need: Test it out against some non-floating objects, such as rocks, to see firsthand the principles discussed in today's Wonder of the Day!

Are you familiar with the story of the Titanic?

How Do Boats Float?

You may have even seen the movie that was made about the famous oceanic disaster. Did you know that the Titanic was called the "unsinkable" ship? Can you imagine that? They sure were wrong, weren't they? Just about anything can be made to sink. Do some research to learn about the most buoyant things on Earth.

Buoyant Science: How Metal "Boats" Float

Some things just seem to float really well. Think of a ping pong ball, for example. Can you imagine it sinking? Probably not unless there was a hole in it.

  • Is about 10 percent, 25 percent, 33 percent, 50 percent, 67 percent, 75 percent, 90 percent or 100 percent of the ball underwater?
  • Density is the mass per unit volume—it describes how much "stuff" is packed into a volume of space;
  • Take one of the pieces and roll it into a ball;
  • Take one of the pieces and roll it into a ball;
  • Can you think of things that float in the air?

If you have a ping pong ball, test it out. Will it sink on its own?

Try It Out

What about if you put a small hole in it? What do you have to do to make it sink? Can you find any other items that are almost unsinkable? Share your findings with your teachers and classmates at school!