Sink or Float? | Science Center Activity

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The Possibilities of Play

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The Possibilities of Play

Featured in The Possibilities of Play: Imaginative Learning Centers for Children Ages 3-6, by Dr. Jean Feldman and Carolyn Kisloski, this learning center activity is a perfect opportunity to develop pre-writing and small-motor skills and practice science skills like observing, predicting, and recording results.


Sink or Float?


  • Small tub of water
  • Objects that will float, such as paper towel pieces, paper clips, ground pepper
  • Objects that will sink, such as a large block, a large plastic toy, a rock, a ball of clay
  • Observation sheet, 1 per child
  • Pencils
  • Marker

What to Do

Create an observation sheet with a three-column grid. Leave the first column blank. Write sink as the heading for the second column and float as the heading for the third column. Make enough copies for each child to have one. With the children, introduce the vocabulary words sink and float. Tell them that when something sinks, it drops to the bottom of the container of water. When something floats, it stays on the surface of the water. Give each child an observation sheet. In the first column, ask them to write the name or draw a picture of an object they will test. Then they can make a check mark in the column for their prediction: sink or float. Next, let the children predict and test each material by placing the objects in the water. Were their predictions correct? Have the children circle the marks that show correct predictions.