CITRUS SINK-OR-FLOAT is a TASTE-SAFE STEM Montessori kids science experiment to explore density with toddlers, preschoolers, and kindergartners.
I know, we all have periods of inspiration when we put our science goggles on and are happily mixing borax or peroxide and eagerly watching some magical chemical combustion! However, I am SURE there are TIMES when you just want to grab something SIMPLE AND TAST-SAFE from your kitchen, offer easy-to-follow directions, and HAVE your child engulfed in PROLONGED PERIOD of sustained attention. So, if you are wishing for the latter, keep reading! Or better yet, go check if you have ANY CITRUS lying around since we will be conducting TASTE-SAFE SINK-OR-FLOAT Montessori STEM kids science experiment to explore density! And do not worry about the scientific terms! You can totally skip them with toddlers, preschoolers, and kindergartners! They WILL be learning through PLAY. Besides, knowledge sinks more effortlessly when little people are engaged in what they are doing! Most importantly, if you hear “WOW!” repeatedly, you know this was experiment was a success!
This STEM experiment is SO SIMPLE! You will be placing two tangerines in water: one unpeeled and another one peeled. Together you will observe which tangerine will sink and which one will float? (BEFORE conducting this experiment, ask your child to PREDICT, which one will float and which one will sink!)
This TASTE-SAFE Montessori Kids Science STEM experiment is suitable for children of ALL AGES, especially for those who might be still mouthing objects.
YOU’LL NEED FOR CITRUS SINK-OR-FLOAT EXPERIMENT
YOU’LL NEED for this Montessori Kids Science Experiment:
- two tangerines (you can also use oranges, clementines, or other citrus fruits)
- a see-through container or a deep bowl
- room temperature tap water
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 citrus fruit!
WARNING: Young children can drown in less than 2 inches (6 centimeters) of water. That means drowning can happen in a sink, toilet bowl, buckets, tubs, fountains, inflatable pools, or small bodies of standing water. SUPERVISION IS REQUIRED.
HOW TO conduct Sink-Or-Float 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?
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.
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, making it sink!
CITRUS SINK-OR-FLOAT STEM EXPERIMENT
Drop a tangerine into the water and it will FLOAT! However, if you REMOVE the peel from that same tangerine, it will SINK!
Revealing the Science mystery of TASTE-SAFE Montessori Kids Science
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.
DENSITY 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.
The unpeeled tangerine FLOATS because the rind is very porous and filled with tiny pockets of air. Thus, even though you are removing mass when you peel it, the peeled tangerine is denser and thus SINKS in water.
Have you tried this CITRUS SINK-OR-FLOAT EXPERIMENT? Leave a comment if you did!
FOR MORE ON SINK-FLOAT
We have been conducting this experiment since Adrian was 3 years old! Check out a VIDEO BELOW.
SEE DEAILS HERE Sink-Float Tangerine Kids Science
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