Floating and sinking

Where can I find information about floating and sinking?

Senior Primary

(Years 5-8)

Image: Floating Chimes by Reuben Bedingfield on Flickr.

Entry last updated: 26/05/22

Introduction

Floating and sinking are about weight and the force or upthrust of water. When an object is put into water the force of the water pushes it up. If the weight of the object is less than the upthrust, it floats and if the weight is the same or bigger than the upthrust it sinks. Objects that float are buoyant.

General websites

Here are some great websites for information about floating and sinking.

DK Findout

Dorling Kindersley online encyclopedia is about all sorts of topics, with lots of interactive activities. It has a helpful section on science.

To find the information about floating and sinking

Tips: Websites that have .com or .co in the address can have good information, but you need to assess how reliable it is. Check the About DK link on this website. That can tell you what the company’s mission and values are.

Factmonster

FactMonster is an online encyclopedia and homework site. It has lots of basic facts and is a good starting point for all sorts of questions. If you scroll down to the bottom of the site, you will see it’s run by Pearson Education, a publisher of educational books.

  • Look down the page for the link to Science.
  • Under Physics choose 'Forces and energy'.
  • Then select 'Floating' to take you to the page DK Science: Floating.

Tips: Websites that have .com or .co in the address can have good information, but you need to assess how reliable it is. Check the About us link on this website. That can tell you what the company’s mission and values are.

Science Learning Hub

This website has articles, activities and videos for students about floating and sinking.

Tips: Search words, or keywords, are the most important words in our question. Usually it’s better to leave out small words like ‘the’, ‘a’ and ‘of’ and just choose the main ones, eg floating. We can always change our keywords or add more if we need to.

Topic Explorer

Topic Explorer is an online tool from the National Library of New Zealand. It contains a wide range of quality resources for students in a range of formats (eg articles, books, images, videos, primary sources, sets, websites) on a variety of topics. These resources have been selected from reliable national and international sources.

Look down the list of Topics for Floating and Sinking.

Tips: We like sites like this because they’re reliable. You can tell because of their web address – they have either .govt or .ac, meaning they are from government or educational organisations. They’re also New Zealand sites, so relevant for us.

Britannica School

Britannica School has a useful article on Archimedes and his law of buoyancy. Britannica School has three levels, you can always move up or down a level if needed.

Tips: To get to the EPIC resources you will need a password from your school librarian first. Or you can chat with one of our AnyQuestions librarians between 1 and 6pm Monday to Friday and they will help you online. Some EPIC databases may also be available through your public library.

Books

Your local public library and school library may have books on floating and sinking. Here are some titles we have found:

Fantastic forces and incredible machines by Nick Arnold.

Explore forces and motion! by Jennifer Swanson.

Why do ice cubes float? by Benjamin Proudfit.

What floats? What sinks? : a look at density by Jennifer Boothroyd.

SCIS no: 1960269

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