Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Discover Challenge: Displacement

This simple discover challenge explores the concept of displacement.  Displacement occurs when an object is immersed in water and displaces (or moves) the water out of the way.  If you are doing this in a finite space, you can see the displacement by the water rising in the container.

Materials: A clear container (glass or practice) - a tall narrow container is best.  Objects of different size, weight, density, etc.(fruit, rocks, balls, balloons) water. Optional: paper, pencil, tape, marker.

Fill container half full of water.  Ask what happens to the water when you put an object in the bowl.  Here are some additional questions to help quide your discovery:

Which objects cause the water to rise the most? (you can use tape and a marker to record)
How can you make the water rise to a certain level?
Why do objects that are the same size but different weights change the water level?

Our discovery...

This was a fast one for us.  A note of caution - make sure you don't put too much water in the container, or it will overflow!  We also talked about and measured how the bathtub rises when we get in.  This is likely a concept your children are already aware of, but have never looked at specifically.


  1. What a fun way to explain this to them. Good tip on not filling the bowl too full! Haha :)


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