Homeschool Science: Buoyancy

I began my volunteer programming this week at Homestead Library, where I was formerly the Interim Programming Coordinator, running all of the programming (Adult, Teen, K-5, Toddler), and before that an Intern who focused on programming. When my Interim position ended, I moved on to a part-time position as a clerk at Squirrel Hill library, but quickly found that I missed the kids and the programming.

This week for Homeschool Science I wanted to introduce a new aspect to the scientific method: Research. For this we did a combination of things.


First, we read a picture book all about buoyancy:

2013-11-07 11.40.49

“What Floats in a Moat?” by

K-Gr 3-In the tradition of classic cartoon-art picture books, this gem tells a fun, slapstick story while teaching the basic physics of buoyancy and Archimedes’s principle. …This story will liven up any science class and also hold its own as a spirited pleasure read.-Julie Roach, Cambridge Public Library, MAα(c) Copyright 2013. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

– School Library Journal

Then we focused on a non-fiction book on buoyancy:

2013-11-07 11.40.40

“Buoyancy” by John Frandon

Finally, I had each group of kids break out into teams of two (one old enough to read and write, one younger) to do online research. The parents told me that this was the first time many of the kids had used the internet to research a topic. I let everyone move at their own speed, and bring me individual facts about buoyancy to add to the “research” part of the board.

Apple Boats Buoyancy Experiment


  • Apples
  • Sharp Knife
  • Melon Baller
  • Paper scraps, or craft foam
  • Toothpicks


1. Cut the apples into halves and quarters (to test different buoyancies), leaving one completely full.

2. Using a melon baller (a spoon could substitute, but I was diggin’ the melon baller), scoop out the seeds. Older kids can help you do this part.

3. Cut craft phone or paper scraps into squares.

4. Have the kids grab the different materials (toothpick, sliced apples, sails) to construct the boats.

5. Float those boats! If you blow on them, they’ll even move around in the water.

I used the scientific method as I went along, because that’s how I’ve been running my Homeschool Science program.

Scientific Method


Will our apple boats float?


Buoyancy has to do with how much water is displaced.

Buoyancy is related to air.

Some balls float better than other balls, because of buoyancy.


If we place the apple boats in water then they will float (because they have air– the seeds are cut out)

If we place our apple boats in water then they will sink (because they are too heavy to float).

If the kids have alternate theories, I always write both hypotheses on the board, as long as they can articulate a reason that both might work.


We always write the procedure together!

  1. Make our apple boats with toothpicks and sails.
  2. PLACE the apple boats gently into the water.
  3. Count to 30 seconds  60 seconds to see if they float.
  4. Eat the apples!


  • The apple boats floated. 
  • If someone pushed on the boats, they sunk.
  • Different shapes of apples floated differently.


When we put our apple boats into the water, they floated because of buoyancy.

I wish I could show you guys the pictures I took of the kids, but I can’t find the flashcard they were on. If it shows up, than I will post!

This entry was posted in Kids, Programming, Science Experiments, STEM, Teen and tagged , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

One Response to Homeschool Science: Buoyancy

  1. Mocomi says:

    Nice and fun activity to learn buoyancy. Thanks for sharing.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s