Properties of Matter

Sinking Sugar

Enrichment Activity for 5-11 11-14

What you need

  • A large sink, bucket or tank
  • Water
  • 330ml cans of various drinks
  • Kitchen scales


  1. Fill the large container with water. Lower the cans into it one by one. Make sure you use a variety of diet, sugary or other drinks
  2. Which ones float? Which ones sink?

Results and Explanation

You should find that the diet or unsweetened drinks float and the sugary ones sink. Now weigh each can.

Whether something sinks or floats depends on its density. Each can has the same volume but the sugary ones weigh more than the others and so are denser. Sweeteners weigh much less than sugar and some popular fizzy drinks contain about seven teaspoons of sugar or more.

These experiments have not been specifically safety tested for home use but we believe them to be safe if the instructions are followed. Adult supervision or direction is recommended as appropriate. All experiments are carried out at your own risk.

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