Quick summary: This activity is designed to encourage children to investigate whether the objects sink or float in fresh water and salt water. Children will discover that salt water is more dense than fresh water so objects float more easily in it, and they will observe that salt water sinks when added to fresh water. Older children will also be introduced to a simple three part structure for scientific inquiry: making predictions, observing results and thinking of possible explanations.
This activity is designed to help connect children to the wonders of the natural world through sensory and play-based learning.
EYLF Learning Outcome
Outcome 1: Children have a strong sense of identity
2. Children develop their emerging autonomy, interdependence, resilience and sense of agency
Outcome 2: Children are connected with and contribute to their world
3. Children become socially responsible and show respect for the environment
Outcome 4: Children are involved and confident learners
1. Children develop dispositions for learning such as curiosity, cooperation, confidence, creativity, commitment, enthusiasm, persistence, imagination and reflexivity
2. Children develop a range of skills and processes such as problem solving, enquiry, experimentation, hypothesising, researching and investigating
3. Children resource their own learning through connecting with people , place, technologies, and natural and processed materials
Outcome 5: Children are effective communicators
1. Children interact verbally and non verbally with others for a range of purposes
3. Children express ideas and make meaning using a range of media
5. Children use information and communication technologies to access information, investigate ideas and represent their thinking
- Collection of jars or clear containers (you will need 2 jars per small group or pair)
- Tap water
- Table salt
- Measuring cups
- Large spoon for stirring salt into water
- Food colouring
- An eye-dropper
- A variety of objects of a similar size but different weights. For example: a tennis ball and cricket ball; a ball and a balloon, a plastic block and a wooden block.
- A range of floating objects. These could include: plastic balls, pencils, plastic bottle tops, old film canisters, paper clips, ice-cream sticks, leaves, twigs, string, small bars of soap, ping-pong balls or whatever other materials you have available.
- Article: Sneideman, J.M. (2013) ‘Engaging Children in STEM Education EARLY!’
- Article: Worth, C (2010) ‘Science in Early Childhood Classrooms: Content and Process’
- Article: Cindy Hoisington, C., Chalufour, I., Winokur, J., and Clark-Chiarelli, N. (2014) ‘Promoting Children’s Science Inquiry and Learning Through Water Investigations’
- Document: The Boston Children’s Museum STEM Teaching Guide. This excellent document assists early learning educators in focusing and refining the naturally inquisitive behaviors of three-to-five-year-olds in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering & Maths).
Cool Australia would like to acknowledge the support of the Seedlings Early Years Education for Sustainability (EYEfS) program.