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Catholic Education South Australia
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EYLF Outcome 4. Children are confident and involved learners. 

Outcome 4.2: Children develop a range of skills and processes such as problem solving, enquiry, experimentation, hypothesising, researching and investigating. 

Preschool numeracy indicator: I analyse, read and organise the data in my world.

Inquiry Question

Why do some objects float while others sink?

Learning experience

This is a good outdoor experience where it’s okay for things to get wet. You’ll need a container for water and a variety of objects to test—toys, utensils, tools.  With your child make a list of the items on paper with two columns titled ‘float’ and ‘sink’.  

Invite children to hypothesize which items they think will float and which will sink in the water. Complete the sheet with their predictions. Then test each one by placing the item gently in the water. Record the results.

Why is this important?

Children will be learning about floating and sinking; that denser objects sink. Many children think that bigger things sink and smaller things float, but in the weird and wonderful world we live in, that’s not actually true!  The following facts may be helpful for young children: 

  • Whether something floats depends on the material it is made of, not its weight. 
  • Objects float if they are light for their size and sink if they are heavy for their size. 
  • An object can be light for its size if it contains air, such as a hollow ball.