Reflection: Vertical Alignment Sinking and Floating Along - Section 5: Evaluate


I have found in past years that many young children have misconceptions about what items will sink and which will float and why. Many of my student this year thought that small things would float no matter what they are made of or how heavy they are. They also thought larger objects would sink no matter what they are made of.

This lesson was designed to challenge those misconceptions and get them thinking about the properties of the matter that the objects are made of. For that reason, I chose small metal cars, larger (but still "small") balls, and other varied size and material objects.

What my kids learned was that it doesn't matter what size an object is or necessarily what it's made of, but rather how much air is in it. The question is, "Is the object buoyant?" which means it has air inside. They came to this conclusion at the very end of our lesson with a discussion about how ships and boats float yet they are made of wood, iron and steel.

This proves that young children can come to complex understandings when given ample prompting and experience. The greatest asset to this is the discussions they can have. They must be teacher led in the beginning, but they support all students of all achievement levels to new understandings.

  Making each step reflective of the others
  Vertical Alignment: Making each step reflective of the others
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Sinking and Floating Along

Unit 5: What WOOD you do?
Lesson 1 of 7

Objective: SWBAT determine the properties of objects that sink or float by placing a variety of objects in a tub of water.

Big Idea: Children often misunderstand what causes an item to sink or float. This lesson lets them experience placing a variety of objects in water and identify what characteristics the objects have in common.

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3 teachers like this lesson
Science, science skill, ELL
  50 minutes
sink or float
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