Exploring the scientific concepts of “sink” and “float” in natural bodies of water
Through this lesson children will explore the scientific concept of
“sink” and float.” They will practice making predictions, engage in
trial-and-error experimentation, and analyze results to make conclusions
and evaluate their original hypothesis
Clipboards for every two children
Access to body of natural water
Introduce the nature walk
Introduce the lesson by saying, “Today we are going on a nature walk to explore what objects do in water”
Ask them if they have ever noticed anything in water. Was it in the bottom of the water? Or was it floating on top?
Introduce the vocabulary words sink and float and explain their meanings
Tell children that the focus of the nature walk will be to find objects in a nature and investigate whether or not they sink or float
Walk to the water while stopping to collect natural objects
As you walk stop and collect items such as rocks, leaves, twigs, acorns, bark, and pinecones
Discuss the properties of the objects you find and make predictions about whether they will sink or float
Arrive at the water and observe its properties
See mindfulness prompts
Let children experiment with dropping their items in the river and observing whether they sink or float
invite children to record their findings on paper using tally marks
Invite them to count how many objects sank and how many floated
Discuss the properties of the items that sink and the items that float
What were children’s original predictions? What actually happened?
To expand on learning inside the home fill your sensory table with water and let children experiment with ‘sink and float’ with indoor materials
Questions to Ask
What do you notice about the objects that sink? What do you notice about the objects that float?
Do you think that some items sink faster that others? Why?
Why do you think some items float for a short time and then start to sink?
Careful observation of the water When you arrive at the water for the sink or float experimentation first invite children to sit with the river for a listening mediation. Invite the children to close their eyes and listen closely to their surroundings - listening to the river if it’s running, listening to the birds, the splashes of fish. After the mediation ask the children about the different sounds they heard.
Don’t forget to thank the water and your natural surroundings for the learning they provided
Considering Developmental a Spectrum
Children with autism, language delays, and other developmental delays may need time to experiment with the cause and effect of dropping objects rather than the more abstract concept of sink and float