In this activity, it's sink or swim! Explore the power of weight by creating a simple science experiment in your water table. Children will practice measuring weight and tracking results as they test their ideas.

set up ideas:
Working with water may be messy. This activity works best in an outdoor setting or with many towels handy.

let's get started

Provide the children with a large tub or water table filled with water. Place different sizes of plastic storage containers or cups in the water. Present pennies or weighted counters for each child to work with.

step 1
The children will determine how many pennies (or counters) it takes to sink a container, so ask them to predict whether a larger container will take more or less pennies to sink.
step 2
Invite the children to float a small container in the water tub. Have them place pennies or counters into the container until it sinks. Remove the pennies from the water.
step 3
Have the children try the same thing with a larger container and see if it takes more or less pennies than were used for the small container.
step 4
Have the children count the pennies and compare the quantities for each container. Write down their results for future comparison.

Explain to the children why the larger container takes more weight to sink and the smaller container takes less. Ask students if they have ever played with toys in the bath. Which kinds of toys have sink and which float? This type of conversation allows students to make connections to their everyday lives.
Tips and Tricks Tips and Tricks
Turn this activity into a fun water day and allow time for kids to have fun and splash around! If this is the case, you may definitely wish to take this activity outdoors.
Follow Up ActivityFollow up Activity
Have each child put the number of pennies or weighted counters onto a scale so children can see how much weight it took to sink their containers. Weigh only one penny or counter to put things into perspective.