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Sink-Float Tangerine Kids Science


Sink-Float Tangerine is a fun Montessori Kids Science experiment to demonstrate how density works while exploring STEM education in preschoolers and kindergartners.

Today, we are conducting a science experiment, by placing two tangerines in water: one whole and another one peeled and observing which one will sink and which one will float?


YOU’LL NEED for this Montessori Kids Science Experiment:

  • two tangerines (you can also use oranges or clementines)
  • a see-through container or a deep bowl
  • water
  • a tray (buy ours here)

HOW TO conduct Sink-Float Tangerine Kids Science

First, fill the container with water. Then, place a tangerine in the water and watch what happens. Peel the other tangerine and place it in the water as well. What happens this time during this Sink-Float Tangerine Montessori Kids Science experiment? 

Even if you push an unpeeled tangerine down, it will keep popping up to the surface. However, if you remove the skin, the tangerine will sink right to the bottom.

DSC_0005Sinking tangerine –  floating peel.

Sink-Float Tangerine Kids Science

Unpeeled tangerine is heavier, so why does the peeled tangerine (the lighter one) sink?


Can you imagine that by peeling a tangerine (that is by taking something away/making it lighter), you are actually making a tangerine denser, allowing it to sink! 


Science mystery revealed: the skin of the tangerine is full of tiny air pockets which help give it a lower density than water, making it float to the surface (just like a floaty is holding a child in the pool). So when you peel a tangerine, even though you remove mass/the skin and all the air pockets, thus making it lighter, the inside of the tangerine is denser, so the tangerine increases its density higher than that of water, making it sink.

Science factsDensity is the mass of an object relative to its volume. Objects with a lot of matter in a certain volume have a high density, while objects with a small amount of matter in the same volume have a low density.

Offer this fun density science experiment to your children and ask them what do they think? It is a fun way to learn the unique characteristic of a citrus fruit!

For more Montessori Kids Science experiment

See here a post Primary Colors, Water & Paper Capillary Action Timelapse Kids Science Experiment. Also, see here a video of the Erupting Volcano Science Experiment. Lastly, for more on baking soda, see HERE a video-post Painting with Colored Vinegar on Baking Soda Science Experiment.


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1 Comment

  • Reply Pilar October 23, 2017 at 11:35 pm

    Muy bueno para los chicos


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