When we heard about the Museum of Science+Industry Chicago’s   Summer Brain Games Series, we had to join in on the fun.   Last week we made the solar oven and today we are sinking ships experimenting with buoyancy.

buoyancy experiment for kidsBuoyancy Experiment for Kids:

This is the week 4 activity {see below for where to download the whole summer of fun from the Museum of Science and Industry}. The activity describes the relationship between three physics concepts that are at play in this kids’ science experiment:
  • Density – the amount of matter in an object
  • Buoyancy – the force that makes something float
  • Gravity – a force that causes two objects to pull together
buoyancy experiment for kids collage 1We gathered together a small container with a lid, a big tub of water and our loose change collection to do this first buoyancy activity.
  1. What happens when the empty container is placed in the water?
  2. What happens when you add weight {by adding coins} to the container?
  3. What happens if you take out coins?
  4. What happens if you add more coins?
We had a ton of fun doing some adding and subtracting to see the result.   Sometimes the container would float.   Sometimes it would sink.   Sometimes it drifted in between. buoyancy experiment for kids 2For this second buoyancy activity, we got out a sheet of aluminum foil and fashioned it into a boat.
  1. What would happen if we added some coins?
  2. How many coins would it take to sink the foil ship?
  3. Can we keep adding coins?
  4. Will the boat float again without the sunken treasure?
We continued to play with the ship and the sunken treasure trying different combinations of cargo.   In the end, Rhett (age 6) spent a lot of time stirring the lost-at-sea coins.

Buoyancy Experiment Alterations:

Because of Rhett’s age, we were content to look at results of large changes – adding a handful here or taking some coins away.   For an older child or as a math activity, some of the following could be added:
  • Counting how many coins create a certain result.   How much money is that?
  • Trying 10 quarters vs. 10 pennies.   Is there a difference?
  • Altering the shape of the aluminum ship or turning the plastic container on a different side.   Does that change the outcome?
  • Charting the various results.
  • Predicting what a change will cause.
  • Who can make the most efficient cargo boat with the same amount of aluminum foil.
There are quite a few additional suggestion to expand the buoyancy activity experience in the Museum of Science and Industry’s activity guide.   We did a similar buoyancy experiment a few months ago using a potato chip bag…and I thought for SURE that it would NOT float!

Summer Brain Games

What fun is ahead this summer?
  • Week 1:   Woodland Terrarium “ Watch your Garden Grow
  • Week 2:   Water Balloon Catapult “ Ready, Aim, Splash!
  • Week 3:   Bottle Rockets “ Fireworks Fun
  • Week 4:   Float Your Boat “ Boy, oh Buoyancy
  • Week 5:   Solar Oven “ Solar Snacks
  • Week 6:   Fly Away “ Take Flight
  • Week 7:   Light Leapfrog “ Light up the Night
  • Week 8:   Make Your Own Ice Cream “ Two Scoops of Science
Currently, the Summer Brain Games Series in week 3.   Here is a video of the week 3 Bottle Rockets activity:
Summer Brain Game logo smallThe Quirky Momma team is really excited to be working with the Museum of Science and Industry promoting their amazing Summer Brain Games Activity Series. The Summer Brain Games Activity Guide can be downloaded for free here. The Museum of Science and Industry is on Facebook, Twitter as @MSIChicago and Pinterest. Learn how to make a Viking longship! We were provided with supplies and compensation for our time.

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