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Assessment Resource Centre (ARC)

  1. Stage 2
  2. Science and Technology
  3. Activities
  4. Investigating Buoyancy
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Investigating Buoyancy

There are no Work Samples available for this Activity.

Foundation Statement strands

The following strands are covered in this activity:

Investigating Scientifically, Designing and Making, The Natural Environment, The Made Environment

Description of activity

Students design a structure using everyday materials and investigate whether it will float on water.


  1. Students identify the design task and develop ideas for a structure that will float on water.
  2. They select a variety of materials and tools from those provided to make the structure they have designed.
  3. Students conduct an investigation to test the buoyancy of the structure.
  4. They record the results and describe, where necessary, changes to the design.
  5. Students modify the structure, test the new design and record the result.

Suggested materials

Variety of everyday, accessible materials eg paddle pop sticks, plastic containers, polystyrene foam, straws, toothpicks/skewers, pipe cleaners, plasticine, paper, cloth, cork, plastic and wire.

Prior learning

This investigation of buoyancy is part of a task on designing and making a boat. At the end of the task the students will demonstrate that the structures they have designed and made will float on water. The focus of this Science and Technology unit is to provide students with opportunities to develop their scientific and technological skills, and their understanding through conducting their own first-hand investigations and designing and making activities.


Products and Services (PS S2.5)
Creates and evaluates products and services considering aesthetic and functional factors.
Investigating (INV S2.7)
Conducts investigations by observing, questioning, predicting, testing, collecting, recording and analysing data, and drawing conclusions.
Designing and Making (DM S2.8)
Develops, implements and evaluates ideas using drawings, models and prototypes at appropriate stages of the design process.
Using Technology (UTS 2.9)
Selects and uses a range of equipment, computer-based technology, materials and other resources with developing skill to enhance investigation and design tasks.

Criteria for assessing learning

Students will be assessed on their ability to:

  • develop and record the design to be investigated
  • select and use appropriate materials and tools
  • predict the results of the test
  • conduct the test and record the results
  • identify changes to improve the design.
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