Experimenting with objects to determine what will float and what will sink in water is always fun and educational. As with any experiment, we like to make predictions about whether the object in question will rise to the top or sink to the bottom.
The floating and sinking orange experiment adds an interesting twist, because the heavier orange is the one that floats and the lighter orange is the one that sinks.
It’s a quick experiment that will only take a few minutes to perform and offers an added bonus. You can enjoy snacking on the oranges while you are talking about how the experiment worked.
Why Does the Heavier Orange Float Experiment Video
- Two Oranges (We used Clementines, but any orange will work)
- Two Glasses or Containers (Note: They must be big enough to put an orange into)
Step 1 – Begin with two empty glasses or containers. (Note: They must be big enough to put an orange into)
Step 2 – Fill each container 3/4 of the way full with water.
Step 3 – Slowly and carefully place an orange in one of the containers. What happens to the orange? Does it float or does it sink?
Step 4 – Next, remove the peel from the second orange.
Step 5 – Slowly and carefully place the peeled orange in the second container. What happens to this orange? Does it float or sink?
How Does the Experiment Work?
An orange with a peel is heavier than an orange without a peel. So why does the orange with the peel (the heavier one) float and the orange without the peel (the lighter one) sink?
The orange with the peel floats because the peel is porous and filled with tiny air pockets. These pockets of air make the orange to be less dense than water and cause it to float. On the other hand, when you remove the peel from the orange, you are in fact making it lighter, but you are also removing those tiny air pockets. Therefore, the orange without the peel is more dense than water and it sinks.
If you liked this experiment, check out these other experiment dealing with density:
- Rainbow in a Jar – Create a Rainbow by using liquids of different densities
- How Different Liquids Impact Magnets – Density also impacts magnetic force
- Mixing Oil & Water – Will the two liquids mix together? Only if you add a third ingredient into the mix
- The Floating Egg – Eggs naturally sink in water, but we made them float
- Bottle Diver – You can make a scuba diver move up and down in water.
I hope you enjoyed the experiment. Here’s some printable instructions.