Science Experiment: Sink or Float with Oranges

My kiddos are ALWAYS up for a fun Science Experiment, and when I saw this Sink or Float activity on Pinterest, I knew we had to give it a try!

Science Experiment Sink or Float with Oranges

I grabbed two glasses of water, filled them about 3/4 of the way full, and then I nabbed two Halo mandarin oranges from the fridge.

I left one orange as-is, but peeled the other one, and then we got started with our experiment!

I began by asking my kiddos what they thought would happen to each one if we placed it down in a glass of water.

Would the orange with the peel sink? Or float?

Would the peeled orange sink? Or float? 


Why not? 

I loved their little answers – Kids come up with the best explanations!

Just to give you a heads up, I’m going to go ahead and let you know what happens!

The orange with the peel floats…

Sink or Float with Oranges - Science Experiment by This Little Home of Mine

…and the peeled orange sinks!

Sink or Float with Oranges - Science Experiment by This Little Home of Mine

What’s the explanation? Here ya go!

The unpeeled orange floats because the rind is very porous and filled with tiny pockets of air. Even though you’re removing mass when you peel the orange, the peeled orange is more dense and sinks in the water.

Steve Spangler

Science Experiment Sink or Float with Oranges

Kids will love watching what happens, and they will get especially excited if their scientific guesses are correct. Would your kids enjoy some activity sheets to use as they make their predictions?

I’ve made some for you that you can access for free!

Science Experiment Sink or Float with Oranges

Psst…you can even try it with lemons and limes! Same scenario! Same result! Let me know what your kids think!

If you enjoyed this post, you may also want to check out how we made balloons magically expand:

Expanding Balloon Science Experiment by This Little Home of Mine

Want to read more about our family’s Lifestyle of Homeschooling? Our daily schedule? A look at our week? I would be honored to share with you how we have adopted a lifestyle of living and learning together and how you can do the same with your own family:

Lifestyle Homeschooling by This Little Home of Mine

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  1. We just did several sink/float experiments in our homeschool co-op. My favorite was making the egg float (adding salt to water to increase the water’s density). The kids liked figuring out how to sink a marshmallow.

    1. I need to try both of those with my boys! They would love that! Anything with water is a hit around here! 😉

  2. We’re getting delicious oranges now in the spring time (southern hemisphere!) , would love to try this out with my son

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