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starScience Activities

Orange Experiment

When you submerge an orange in water, does it sink or does it float? The answer is not quite as simple as you might think. This experiment provides you and your child an easy way to determine the answer, and to get to the bottom of why an orange behaves the way that it does.

Activity Instructions

Fill a large bowl with water, then place an orange in it. Observe whether the orange floats or sinks. Then take the orange out and peel all of the rind away. Try the experiment again, and see if the orange behaves any differently!

Before you conduct the experiment, have your child guess at what the result may be with and without the peel on. Use our science worksheets to document the experiment.

When you first place the orange in the water, you will probably find that it floats. After you peel the rind away, however, you might be surprised to find that the orange sinks! The reason for this is that the rind contains little pickets of air, which essentially keep the thing afloat—but when they’re gone, the entire piece of fruit simply submerges!


Large Bowl of Water
1 Orange
A Knife (to peeling the orange).


This is a great, simple experiment for showing your kids how to make basic scientific observations; it also provides a good opportunity to talk to them about the factors that make something either float or sink.