An introduction to Oceanography
Discover Oceanography

Lesson C: Floating and Sinking

In this lesson students will use their own practical results, the concept of density and the Archimedes principle to investigate floating and sinking and calculate whether both Jack and Rose could have survived at the end of the 1997 film Titanic by holding onto the floating door.

You will need:

  • Lesson plan
  • Lesson presentation (main or extension)
  • Equipment for class practical
    • Newton meters
    • Rubber bands
    • Ice cream tubs
    • Salt
    • Weighing boats
    • Spatulas
    • Balances
    • Plasticine, wooden blocks, aluminium, iron blocks
  • Calculation worksheet (all levels)
  • Sugar solution density tower Method Handout
  • Mythbusters video
  • Archimedes video
  • Clip of door scene from Titanic

All of the presentations and files can be downloaded here. The student area of this website helps students to understand the importance of density in the real world with reference to Titanic. In addition to this, students can test their knowledge on a challenging density quiz, and then find instructions to complete the sugar solution density tower experiment independently.