Sink the foil boat science experiment : Fizzics Education


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Sink the foil boat

Sink the foil boat

Follow FizzicsEd 150 Science Experiments:

You will need:

  • Aluminium foil
  • A tub of water
  • Marbles, metal nuts or anything else you want to use as weights
  • Optional: A scale to measure the weight
  • A mess bucket and cleaning materials


The equipment used for this experiment are shown, Plastic half full of water, marbles and Aluminium Foil.
1 Cutting the foil from the

Tear off a square of foil roughly 30cm by 30cm.

2 Folding the piece of foil into a square shape

Fold the edges of the foil to form a neat square. This also allows the side of the foil boat to be stronger.

3 Guy making a foil boat on a black table

Form the boat sides. Try cube-shaped barges vs. speedboat shapes!

4 Foil boat floating on water while a guy adds marbles on top

Add marbles or similar weights one by one into the boat until it sinks! You could also measure the weight of each object you add to the boat for additional rigour (it is a competition after all!).

5 Foil boats floating and sinking in water

Completely sunk! Try again, can you do better with a different boat design?

6 A man using a pipette to drop blue coloured water onto a taught strong that is suspended over a tray

Get the Unit of Work on Water Science here!

  • Explore the water cycle
  • Learn about cohesion, adhesion & capillary action
  • From water currents to floatation, join us to explore water science!

Includes cross-curricular teaching ideas, student quizzes, a sample marking rubric, scope & sequences & more

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7 A cloud of liquid nitrogen vaur on a deask with a science presenter
8 Teacher showing how to do an experiment outside to a group of kids.

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– Help students learn how science really works

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What is happening?

Things float in water due to displacement and the resultant forces that act back on the object. Displacement is simply an object pushing a liquid or gas out of the way. When you place an object into water, it displaces the water out of the way. That same water pushes back at the object.

  • If the weight of the water that was displaced is more than the weight of the object, the object will float. This floating is due to the force of that water pushing upwards being greater than the force of the object pushing downwards.
  • If the weight of the water displaced is less than the object’s weight, the object will sink. This floating is due to the force of that water pushing upwards being lesser than the force of the object pushing downwards.

This is about Archimedes principle which states:

“Any object, wholly or partially immersed in a fluid, is buoyed up by a force equal to the weight of the fluid displaced by the object.”

Variables to trial

  • Can you reduce the amount of foil and still hold the same number of marbles?
  • What happens if you use a liquid other than water?
  • Does it matter where you place the weights within the boat?

A man with a glove above a liquid nitrogen vapour cloud

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