Reflection: Developing a Conceptual Understanding Flink Lab - Section 3: Lab (Student Activity)


I internally cringe when I hear the word 'flink'. It's a word I heard several years ago to describe an object that neither floats or sinks. It's a combination of the word float and sink. In technical terns it means an object that has achieved neutral buoyancy. The word flink is not a real scientific word and I always hope that I am not contaminating a student's scientific vocabulary. 

When you look at the three option an object has in a fluid it can float, sink, or achieve neutral buoyancy. I always thought that those three words never went well together. Achieving neutral buoyancy never had a good flow with float and sink. By changing the word neutral buoyancy to flink I have created a better word pattern, float, sink, or flink has a better ring to it.

It is only my opinion, but I feel that the word neutral buoyancy gets in the way of conceptual understanding. It sounds too technical for what it represents. By using a simpler term, I feel my students have less apprehension to understanding the general idea. It becomes our secret word that only when have an understanding of. It becomes an excellent opportunity to bond with my students over our private word.

When ever I use the word flink, I always use the term neutral buoyancy in the same sentence. I want my student stop know the meaning. I also let them know that the word flink will never be on any quiz or test - they will have to know the word neutral bouyancy.

  Why use an unscientific word like 'flink'
  Developing a Conceptual Understanding: Why use an unscientific word like 'flink'
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Flink Lab

Unit 7: Density and Buoyancy
Lesson 1 of 6

Objective: Students will be able to construct a neutrally buoyant structure with styrofoam and paper clips.

Big Idea: Flinking is a combination of the words float and sink and correctly describes neutral buoyancy.

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11 teachers like this lesson
Science, buoyancy, density, displacement
  75 minutes
flink lab
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