It is always fun to watch curious children try out things and see how they work. This afternoon post our little valentine’s art and craft project (will post about that soon) Sid asked me to make a paper boat. I made on with stiff card paper that had been crayoned on and Nish quickly claimed that as his. Sid handed me a thin one sided A4 paper and i made him another boat with that. Then we filled up a tub in the bathroom and the boys gently put their boats in. Nish’s thicker boat floated around gracefully while Sid’s boat soaked up water and tragically unfolded, all soppy and sad. Of course Sid was most upset. I asked what they thought had happened and Sid immediately said…my paper is thin. Good point…so we went back to the kids’ room and made a sturdier one with more card paper. This one did much better but then north capsized when Nish decided to turn the tap on to fill the tub up some more, filling the boats up in the bargain. “Nish drowned the boats!!!” was Sid’s complaint.
Ok…since i already had 3 very soggy soppy boats in the bathroom, i decided to change the game a bit. “Let’s make a different boat”, i suggested and dropped an empty blue sop box into the water. Is it like a boat? Yup….it floats. Then i put a small pail in. That floated too. Then i dropped a metal spoon in. This object did not float ..it sank. A new concept was introduced. The boys got super excited and brought in all kinds of stuff…rubber ducky – floats…plastic fish and octopus…both sink… plastic cup…floats, empty bottle – floats…metal car – sinks.
This of course was just an introduction to a basic concept of physics but it happened in such a nice organic manner. It has also set the stage for some more follow up conversations and experiments around this.