Sinking and floating

Siswa van Riesen
Age range: 
10-12, 12-14
Level of difficulty: 
Level of interaction: 
Average learning time: 
1 didactic hour
Access rights: 
Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial (CC BY-NC)

In this ILS students can learn about properties of objects that influence whether an object sinks or floats in the water. They get the assignment to find out which materials they can use to build a raft that floats in order to leave the island they are currently on. By going through all phases of inquiry they will gain knowledge about mass, volume and density, and their relation to each other.

Inquiry Learning Phases: 
Orientation (Orientation)
Apps in use: 

The Concept Mapper tool lets learners create concept maps, to get an overview of the key concepts and their relations in a scientific domain. They can define their own concepts and relations or choose from a list of predefined terms.

As a...Read more

Go-Lab inquiry apps
App type: 
OpenSocial gadget
Conceptualisation (Conceptualisation)
Apps in use: 

The Questioning Scratchpad helps learners formulate research questions. In addition to free text editing, pre-defined domain terms are offered to support them. As a teacher you can change the configuration of this tool. In the configuration menu...Read more

Go-Lab inquiry apps
App type: 
OpenSocial gadget
Investigation (Investigation)
Apps in use: 

The Experiment Design Tool (EDT) supports planning scientific experiments and recording the results observed. Learners can define several experiment designs from the given set of properties and measures, and enter the values obtained from the...Read more

Go-Lab inquiry apps
App type: 
OpenSocial gadget
Conclusion (Conclusion)
Discussion (Discussion)
Educational objective: 
  • Learn how mass, volume and density influence whether an object sinks or floats
  • Learn to formulate a research question
  • Learn to plan and conduct an experiment

Students are told that they are trapped on an island and have to build a raft to leave the island. They have to think about properties of materials and decide which materials they will use for their raft. After they gave it some thought they plan and conduct experiments with which they can learn about the influence of mass, volume and density of an object on sinking and floating. Based on their results they draw conclusions and reflect upon their process and results.

Organisational requirements: 
  • There should be sufficient computers available for students to work at. Students can work individually or they may be placed in groups behind one computer. The ILS is aimed at individual students.
  • The teacher should have knowledge about the domain to help the students when they
  • ...
Students' prior knowledge: 
Students should know the concepts of mass, volume and density.
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