By Jamie Pine
University of Idaho
ITV Series: Bill Nye Science Guy, Cut 2, Buoyancy, #119
This lesson is designed to teach the students about buoyancy. The students should
be able to discover whether or not a section out of James and the Giant Peach is reality
or fantasy, using the information they learn about buoyancy. A great lesson to
complement a "Sink or Float" unit.
Students will be able to:
- Explain what causes objects to float and identify the
characteristics of an object that floats.
- They will predict whether or not a peach will float and
conduct an experiment to prove whether or not their prediction is correct.
- Students will analyze the qualities of James' peach, and tell
whether the story is reality or fantasy.
Per every 2 students:
- One bowl of water
- piece of paper
Reading: The students will have read through chapter 19
of James and the Giant Peach.
Possible discussion topics: When James, his friends, and the peach went under the
water, what did you think would happen? What made you think that? What makes
objects float? What is a prediction? Do you think that a peach could really
float or is that just a fantasy? Have students record their predictions on the top
of their handouts.
Focus for Viewing
To give students a specific responsibility while viewing, have students predict
what makes an object float and whether they feel that a peach can really float or not.
Students will need to fill out handout while viewing the
video. The video will answer all the questions that are located on the sheet before the
START: where Bill Nye is driving down the road and says "The reason why things
float or sink." PAUSE: After Bill Nye says, "The weight of water is what
makes things float."
Have students answer the first question on the handout:
What makes things float? Fast forward: to where DISPLACEMENT comes up on the whole
screen. START: from displacement PAUSE: after Bill Nye says, "In fact
everything you put in water displaces water."
Have the students answer question #2 on handout: What is
displacement? Fast forward to after Bill gets out of dunk tank and starts to pick up
the boat. START: from Bill Nye picking up the boat. PAUSE: After Bill Nye says
it just balances.
Have the students answer question #3 on handout: The object
in the water and the water it displaces are which of the following?
- Equal in weight
- Object weighs more
- Water weighs more - discuss what happens when you get
into the bathtub?
Fast forward: to part where the child comes on the
screen. START: from the child coming on the screen. PAUSE: where the child
says, "the shape makes a difference."
Have the students consider their predictions of whether the peach will sink or
float. If the predictions stayed the same have them copy it to the space that says,
"Prediction of peach." If their prediction has changed have them write that
there. Fast forward: to when the word TEST comes on the screen. START: at the
word test. STOP: after the kids throw Bill Nye into the pool. Discuss
whether or not watching this video made students change their minds. Have students explain
their reasons why they kept their predictions the same or why they changed.
Inform students that now they know what makes things float,
they will be conducting some experiments of their own.
- Predict if objects listed on handout will float. Record
predictions and one reason why.
- Conduct the experiments.
- Record results of experiments. Write one reason why your
prediction failed if it did.
- Conclude whether or not the buoyancy of the peach in James and
the Giant Peach is reality or fiction. Discuss as a group why the answer is what it is.
- This video can be used to explore many different ideas in
math. Two specific concepts that are dealt with well in this video are concepts in weight
- Conduct other experiments.
- Go swimming and conduct experiments and make predictions of
who will be the most buoyant.
- For additional lesson plans and ideas relating to this topic
and many others try TeacherSource!
will find activities, lesson plans, teacher guides and links to other great educational
web sites! Search the database by keyword, grade level or subject area!
- Mathline and Scienceline are also great resources
for teachers seeking teaching tips, lesson plans, assessment methods, professional
development, and much more! Look for a localized version of Mathline and Scienceline
on IdahoPTV next year!