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What Makes Objects Float?

This week, the Junior Rangers teach team helped out with Nature Day Camp by teaching a lesson about water. H2O was this week’s theme and our team had prepared a lesson about buoyancy, surface tension and cohesion – aka what makes certain objects float. Buoyancy is defined as the upward force exerted by a liquid that opposes the weight of an immersed object. Each member of our team was responsible for teaching a section of the material. Junior Ranger Luke Knollinger introduced the topic by showing campers how to calculate the density of an object. If an object is denser than the water, it will sink. We also talked about animals that use surface tension to float, like the Water Striders (Gerridae). This group of true bugs distributes its weight to make it less dense and allow it to glide on the surface of the water.
During the lesson, the campers treated us to a rousing chorus of The Water Cycle Song – a song about how water is recycled through evaporation, condensation and precipitation. It was great! After we explained why things float, we needed to test out this new knowledge. The campers broke up into teams and constructed their own boats, using what they had learned to make them buoyant and fast. Once the boats were built, campers were able to race them against the other teams. Even though the power went out shortly after we left the building, we all still had a blast. ~Jr. Rangers Teach Team
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