Float vs. Sink: A Food Experiment

Materials:

  • Large glass bowl
  • Water
  • A variety of fruits and vegetables
    • Fruits: banana, orange, mango, lime, apple, grape
    • Veggies: carrot, potato, avocado, peppers
    • Halloween Themed Experiment: pumpkin, squash, oranges, carrots
  • Paper and pencil
  • Kitchen scale (optional)

Procedure:

~Fill large glass bowl with water

~Collect your fruit and vegetables for the experiment. Any will work!

~Take your pencil and paper and create four columns as shown below

~Record all your fruits, vegetables and their weight

~Look at each fruit and vegetable and guess if it will sink or float when placed in water. Take your time and think about:

  • How much it weighs
  • Does it have a peel or skin?
  • What is its shape?
Fruit or Veggie Weight Do you think it will sink or float? Did it sink or float?
Banana 4 ounces Sink Float
 
 

~One at a time, place each item in the glass water bowl and record whether it sinks or floats

~Take everything out that can be peeled (ex. banana, orange)

~Peel each item and place both the fruit and peel back in the water. Did they float or sink?

*Want to examine more? Remove the core out of the mango and avocado. Remove the seeds out of the lime and pumpkin. See if they sink!

Fruit for Thought

  • Weight:
    • Did the weight effect if something sank to the bottom or floated at the top? Not always, something as lite as a baby carrot will sink but a heavy apple will float.
  • Shape:
    • Did the shape impact the results? If weight is distributed across a greater area it will help it float.
  • Whole vs. Peeled:
    • Did peeling the fruit change the result? The protective skin of some fruits (banana and orange) have air pocket that keep it from sinking. Explain that is the reason we wear life jackets!

What really controls if a fruit or vegetable sinks or floats? Density! Both the weight and the amount of space the food takes up will determine if an object or food can float.

What other food items did you think of using? What was the most surprising fruit or vegetables?

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