Kids will have fun learning about what floats in water with this fun density for kids unit exploring mass, volume, density, and more with four different fun, science projects for kids. This simple density experiment for kids is fun for preschool, pre-k, kindergarten, first grade, and 2nd grade students. Children will figure out what is less dense than water and they explore this scientific principle!
Density for Kids
Before we can understand why some things float and some don’t we need to understand density! Density is a measure of how close together these pieces are. If they are close together, the object is dense. If the pieces are far apart, the object is less dense as their is more space for air. The best way to understand density for kids is to try a hands-on density experiment for kids. In this hands-on, easy science experiment for kids, children will discover what floats in water. Use this what is less dense than water project with preschoolers, kindergartners, grade 1, and grade 2 students.
Start out by reading one of these fun picture books to teack kids about density!
Density experiment for kids
Now let kids try floating different objects in a tub of water in this fun density experiments. I suggest using this free printable with suggestions as well as space for kids to write their prediction and the answer.
What floats in water
Now ask kids, what is heaviest – a pound of feathers or a pound of gold?
The answer is they weight the same – they both weight one pound.However, the amount of space the feathers take up would be greater as you’d need more feathers to make a pound. The density of the gold is higher than the feathers.
Basically, density is how compact an object is. Put another way,
density = mass of an object (how heavy it is) / by its volume (space it takes up)
Understanding Mass and Volume
So what is mass and volume and how does it make things float
Take 3 identical boxes (could be mac and cheese, jello, corn bread, pasta, etc.) and fill them with different things so that they will have different weights.
- the volume (or amount of space for each of the boxes) is the same for each of them
- the mass (weight of each box) is different
What determines if an object will float or sink in a fluid
Help kids understand this principal with these 2 simple experiments:
- Aluminum Foil – Start by only slightly wadding a piece of aluminum foil and try to float it on water. Now make a second ball using the same size of aluminum foil but this time make it into a tight ball and see what happens. The density of the second ball is greater so it will sink more than the first one.
- Ice and Water – Show kids that ice floats. But wait….ice is water? Put water in a paper cup and make a line on the side to show the level of water. Now put the cup in the freezer until freezes. The water expands as it freezes. Now even though the mass (weight) is the same, the volume (space it takes up) is different so the density of the ice is slightly less than the density of water.
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