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Explore and Play: Fruit Float

Does an orange float? What if you peel it?


  • orange 
  • container of water
  • Floating Fun (video)—optional

Key Science Concepts

  • Objects behave differently in water. Some float; some don’t.


Tell children they’re going to try an experiment like the one the boy in the video did: he compared what happened when he put two walnuts in the water. One walnut had a peel; the other did not.   

  1. Show children the orange with the skin. Ask, Do you think this will float or sink? Have a volunteer try it. (It will float.)
  2. Peel the orange and ask children, What’s different about this orange? Do you think it will float or sink? Then have a volunteer try it. (It will sink.)
  3. Then have children drop just the peels into the water—but first ask them to predict whether they think the peels will sink or float. Ask:
  • Was your prediction about the peels correct? How did you know the peels would float?
  • Why do you think the orange with the skin floated but the peeled orange sank?

Extension for Older Children

If your children are older and able to make more complex comparisons, you can show them the live-action video a second time, asking them to compare the results of your experiment with the results of the boy’s experiment. (In our experiment, the orange with the peel floated, but in the video, the walnut with the peel sank.) Ask them what they thought would happen and if they were surprised the results were different.  

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