Hands-on learning is the best way to process language, so simple science experiments are perfect for children learning Spanish. Sink or float in Spanish is one of my favorite experiments to do with kids. In Spanish the words are usually reversed, so we say ¿Flota o se hunde?. Below you’ll find printables I have used with my students and a video of sink or float in Spanish.
Vocabulary for Sink or Float in Spanish
One of the reasons I keep coming back to this experiment is the vocabulary. First, there are only three key words, the two verbs, flotar and hundirse, and the word agua.
Then, beyond those three words, you can include whatever vocabulary you like as the objects. I have done this experiment with fruit, toy animals made of different materials, things related to spring like flowers, sticks, stones, leaves, and seeds, and many household objects.
Sink or Float Experiment in Spanish
Another reason this is one of my favorite simple science experiments in Spanish is you can do it as a large group or kids can do it in small groups. The materials are easy to come by and inexpensive, and no one is going to get hurt (although some kids do manage to get a little wet).
Of course, you want to model making predictions and the language kids need to express their observations. However, because we are talking about two verbs, and one of those is a cognate, they get it right away.
I also include the language they need on a recording sheet or graphic organizer. If kids work in small groups, going over their observations on the recording sheet provides a lot of repetition. You can find my printable recording sheets below, or make your own. I have a couple of different styles that I have used with groups of different ages.
As a follow-up activity, I have also had kids draw a picture with labels to illustrate the experiment or write sentences to describe what happened.
Sink or Float in Spanish Printable Recording Sheets
If kids record their own observations you can use recording sheets like these. You can also compile this information on the board if you are working as a large group.
This PDF has 4 of the printable recording sheets I’ve used in class. A couple of versions have drawings and words for the objects we used, and the other versions have space for you to put in objects if you using different things.
Spanish Sink or Float Video
This video is a perfect introduction to sink or float in Spanish. Pamela does the experiment with common objects and adds a little information about them. For example, she says Tenemos unas tijeras. Las tijeras sirven para cortar papel. Vamos a ver si estas tijeras se hunden o flotan.
The objects Pamela uses in the video are un lápiz, unas tijeras, un globo, un alce (small plastic moose) una manzana, una piedra, una hoja, and un dulce.
Sink or Float in Spanish Variations
There are several variations of the sink or float experiment. For example, you can add salt to the water, use different liquids or try it with fruit. Several of these variations add higher level science concepts without a lot of complicated language.
Sink or Float in Spanish with Fruit
Sink or float in Spanish with fruit is a fun way to practice fruit vocabulary. To make this even more fun, and get in more language, try the experiment with whole fruit, and then try peeling some of them. Kids will see, for example, that an orange floats, but once they peel it, it sinks.
See good photos of sink or float with fruit on Educaconbigbang.
Float in Spanish with Eggs
Sink or float with eggs is an excellent way to add more common vocabulary and the concept of density, la densidad.
You need two glasses of water, salt, and two raw eggs. Mix the salt into one of the glasses of water. The egg sinks in freshwater, but floats in salt water, because salt water is more dense.
Simple Science Experiments in Spanish
Many simple experiments use household objects, so they work well for teaching language as well as science concepts. Sink or float in Spanish is one of the easiest, and it is also lots of fun. Try it, and let us know how it goes!