Real scientists estimate the mass (weight) of dinosaurs by floating scale models. We tried some dinosaur float sink science too. Not for checking on water displacement, just to see if they would float or sink.
Water play is appealing for kids so with some warm water in the kitchen sink, Little Sister checked to see if her plastic dinosaurs would float. Here are the materials we used. The little dinosaur is hard to see since it’s so much smaller than the larger one. It’s in the foil dish, bottom left.
First we tried Little Dinosaur. Little Sister thought it would float since it was plastic but it sunk down to the bottom. I gave here a few containers to use as boats. She thought they might work to help her dino float but was still very surprised when both the empty applesauce cup and foil tart pan worked. The dino wouldn’t stand up very well in either one but being on its side didn’t make any difference.
Next we tried making a boat out of a piece of aluminum foil. After tearing off some from the roll, Little Sister tried to make her own boat but the foil ripped. She asked for help so together we folded up the edges and made a boat shape. We checked to see the boat would float before we put the dinosaur into it. Once we knew the boat would float, we tried the dino. That one worked too but for some reason the boat drifted backwards. Maybe because the plug wasn’t very tight and water was slowly leaking out of the sink? In any case, it was fun for her to find ways to make the dino float.
Really Big Dinosaur was much too large to fit in the boats but Little Sister wanted to see if it would float. This needed much more water in the sink. She tried it several times as the water rose higher and higher in the sink but it stood quite still. When the water was almost to the top, Really Big Dinosaur did float. Surprise, surprise! For some reason, Little Sister needed to let a bit of water out of the sink and then fill it up again. This occupied her for several minutes until she let all the water out and was done. She proved to herself she could get the same result each time.
Children are natural scientists, trying and testing in a variety of ways. Besides dinosaur float sink science, what other science fun can kids have with dinosaurs?