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Proverbs 22:6 – Train up a child in the way he should go, even when he is old, he will not depart from it.

Kitchen Lab – Sink or Float Experiment

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Food and The Kitchen

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My son loves hands-on activities. In this Kitchen Lab we conducted an experiment to find out what makes something sink or float in water.

Target Vocabulary: absorbArchimedes, buoyancy, change, common, concept, conduct, difference, disprove, experiment, float, force, inquiry, lab, method, observation, outcome, prove, replicate, result, similarity, scientific, sink

Using scientific method to test what makes fruits and vegetables sink or float

Using basic scientific inquiry method to test what makes fruits and vegetables sink or float

Before the Lesson:

I talked about Archimedes, the Greek scientist who discovered the concept of buoyancy. Specifically, I mentioned that water has weight and Archimedes found when something is placed in water, a force causes the object to lift. When an object has enough buoyancy force (equal to its weight), it can float. When something does not experience enough force, it sinks. I also discussed how by conducting experiments, one can replicate and prove or disprove a scientific concept. This is also known as the basic scientific inquiry method.

Experiment Overview:

Conduct an experiment using various fruits and vegetables to find out which ones can absorb enough air to make them float. Conduct two comparisons: the first with their peel on and the second without peel to see if there is a difference. Establish a similarity between peels and human skin (how air is absorbed through the peel much like our skin breathes and absorbs air).

Materials:

  • Variety of fruits and vegetables (we used orange, apple, banana, strawberries, carrots and celery)
  • Large bowl of water
  • Knife and cutting board (for cutting and peeling if necessary)
  • Paper and pencil to note observations and results

Procedure:

  1. I had my son select one fruit and predict if he thought it would sink or float
  2. He placed the fruit into the water bowl and observed if it floated or not
  3. We made note of the result then removed the skin and placed the item back into the water bowl. We then observed whether there was a change in the result and noted the outcome.
  4. We discussed what caused the item to sink (did not absorb enough air) or float (absorbed enough air to create enough buoyancy force)
  5. We also discussed if there was something in common to the items that floated or sank

Follow-Up Questions:

  1. Which fruits or vegetables floated with their peels?
  2. What about their peel made them float?
  3. Was there something in common in those that floated?
  4. Which fruits or vegetables sank?
  5. Was there something in common in those that sank?
  6. What did you learn by conducting this experiment?
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