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Will it Sink or Float STEM Experiment | The STEAM Generation

This project is a great idea for a science fair.

STEM project floating a can
Will it Sink or Float STEM Experiment

Grade Level

4-5th Grade

Difficulty Level




Safety Issues


Material Availability

All necessary materials are readily available.

Project Time Frame

2 weeks


This project is a study in density.

The goals of this project are:

To discover the causes, effects and practical applications of density. To encourage technological advances.


Computer with internet access Color printer Digital camera Typical office/craft supplies (such as paper, pens & poster-board)

2 unopened diet soda cans

2 unopened regular soda cans

1 unopened seltzer water can

1 clear large storage bin


All materials can be found in your home or at local stores.


Density is a measurement that compares the amount of matter an object has to its volume. Objects that are lighter density than water will float.

Research Questions

What causes buoyancy? How is buoyancy measured? What kinds of cans will float and why? How are the principles of buoyancy useful to us? What is the difference between diet and regular soda?

Terms and Concepts to Start Background Research

Buoyancy Density Equilibrium Gravitational force


Marine Engineer

Research related materials (see bibliography below and search terms listed above) Test whether soda cans sink or float.

  1. Photograph all the cans with the labels showing.

  2. Fill a large container with water. The water should be deep enough so you can easily tell which cans are floating and sinking.

  3. Slowly place each can into the water one at a time.

  4. Place each can on its side in the water so air is not trapped at the bottom of the can.

  5. Observe the cans as you place them in the water. Which ones floating? Which ones sink?

  6. After all the cans are in the water, try to figure out why some of the cans float and others sink.

  7. Analyze the data.

  8. Interpret your findings in a detailed report.

  9. Include interesting photos in your science fair display.

  10. Also display your cans and bin with water.


Wiki searches: “Density” and “Weight.”

Internet searches of your own choosing: Search for any of the terms listed above (or make up your own phrases to search), and click on any results that interest you. Have fun surfing the net!

Does your child have an interest in STEM/STEAM? Check out more of our hands-on project based learning programs such as our classes and camps.


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