Properties of Matter

Fruity Floater

Enrichment Activity for 5-11 11-14

What you need

  • An orange
  • A deep bowl or container
  • Water


  1. Fill the bowl with water and put the orange in it. What happens?
  2. Now peel the orange and put it in the water again. What happens this time?

Results and Explanation

You should find that the orange floats when its skin is still on, but sinks after you peel it off!

Orange skin is full of tiny air pockets that help make the orange less dense overall than water, so it floats. Removing the skin makes the orange denser than water, so it sinks. 

appears in the relation m=ρV
IOP DOMAINS Physics CPD programme

New videos on forces

Our first collection of videos gives teachers and coaches of physics a preview of the training we offer ahead of this term's live support sessions.

Find out more