Floating and Sinking: Raising FUNdaMENTAL Questionsby: Thomas O'Brien

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Learning science is FUNdaMENTAL—that is, it is a combination of hands-on FUN and minds-on MENTAL activity. It builds on students’ prior knowledge that has been acquired both from formal instruction and from daily life experiences. In this activity, raisins are observed to alternately rise (float) and fall (sink) in a cup of clear, colorless, carbonated soft drink. This cycle continues until the drink goes “flat.” This activity can be used to explore density and buoyancy, the solubility of gases in liquids under different temperatures and/or pressures, and diffusion and osmosis. It is a visual participatory analogy for, and a concrete example of, interactive learning experiences that challenge learners to raise questions and “question answers” about science and challenge teachers to learn more about the science and art of teaching.

  • Elementary
  • Middle
  • High
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Reviews (2)
  • on Wed Nov 14, 2018 8:46 PM

Floating and Sinking is a very helpful resource. It shows how to implement engaging activities for students that build on prior knowledge. It also provides lots of Higher and Lower Order Thinking Questions that highlight the areas of Bloom's Taxonomy.


  • on Sat Nov 03, 2018 1:32 PM

Floating and Sinking raising Fundamental questions is a great resource. It provides you with an example of a science concept and then lists the materials, procedures, and the debriefing portion. This resource gives you an idea on how to flow a lesson that includes sinking and floating. This resource provided help when I was preparing a sink or float lesson plan.

Wendy Miranda  (Beltsville, MD)
Wendy Miranda (Beltsville, MD)

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