Everyday mySci

What Can Float in a Pool?


Look around. Did you bring anything to the pool that can float? What about an empty soda can, or some aluminum foil? Did you bring any floaty toys?

  • Put each of the items in the water and see how they float. 
  • Can you change the material so they would sink? 
  • If they can float, what can you put on them or in them and still have them float? 

Safety Tip: Clean any found objects before placing them in water.

Questions to Ask:

  • How much of the item is under the water and how much is above the water? (Some of the things that float might sit lower in the water than others but generally, things that float have more air which is less dense than water, so it floats.) 
  • What are the shapes of the things that float? Does the shape matter? (The shape might not matter, but how much surface there is to displace the water does. For example, a crumpled up ball of aluminum foil won’t float, but flatten it out and turn up the edges and it will float.) 
  • How much weight can your floaty toy carry and not sink? (When the weight (mass) of the object is greater than the amount of water it is displacing, it will sink.)