Float or sink: predicting and testing

The teacher asked the Reception children (age 4-5) to investigate whether a range of materials would sink or float. She made it clear to the children that they should say what they thought would happen before they put each object in the water. The children discussed their predictions before testing whether it floated or sank. For example:

L – I think I’m going to test my spoon, it’s made of plastic.

I – No It’s made of wood.

L – Oh! It floats. The marble sinks down though.

I – I think this is gonna sink because it’s heavy (door handle) – Yes it sinked!

G – Let’s test my sponge. It didn’t sink because it’s light. This pear will sink to the bottom. And this carrot – it sinks to the bottom when I put it in.

R – I think it will float. Some things are floating and some are sinking!

(See Learning story for more detail, including a planned next step to challenge children’s thinking by testing some heavy objects that float).

Briar Hill Infant School, Warwickshire