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Book 38: Understanding Buoyancy: Why Objects Float or Sink

Levels: 3-4
Contextual strands: Physical world icon. Physical world


Understanding Buoyancy focuses on the popular topic of floating and sinking. The medium of water has been chosen because it is relevant to children's everyday experiences and observations. Most children have some understanding of how they themselves, and everyday objects, float or sink in water.

At this level, the topic can be extended to floating and sinking in other media (for example, in air and in other fluids) as appropriate to the children's experience and level of understanding.

Concept overview

Use the concept overview, which is also on the inside front cover of the book, as a reference for the concepts that relate to Understanding Buoyancy: Why Objects Float or Sink.

PDF icon. Read the concept overview (PDF 63 KB)

Links with other titles in the series

This book builds on the concepts outlined in the companion book:

Other books include:

  • Book 34: Parachutes (L3-4, Physical World)
    extends the investigation of floating and sinking to the medium of air

The concepts associated with this topic are also outlined in the chapter Gravity and Flotation in Making Better Sense of the Physical World (Ministry of Education, 1999).

Assessment resources

Search the science section of the Assessment Resource Banks (ARB) website to find resources that assess the 'big idea' learning outcomes referred to in the concept overview for this title.