Lemons - do they sink or float?

Lemons - do they sink or float?

Try this tangy experiment

Tangy, sour and...science-y? You can use lemons for more than just lemon cheesecake. You can use them for experiments!

You need:

  • Whole lemon
  • Deep bowl
  • Water
  • Knife
  • Chopping board

How to:

Ask an adult for help with cutting the lemon.

  1. Fill the bowl with water so it's around three quarters full.
  2. Place the whole lemon in the water. What happens?
  3. Take the lemon out of the water.
  4. Cut the lemon into four pieces.
  5. Place the lemon pieces in the water. What happens?

Try the experiment at home. What do you notice? Explanation after the giant lemon!

Lemon cross section_AA051086

Giant lemon!

What's happening?

The whole lemon floats. When the lemon pieces are placed into the water they sink!

The outer skin of the lemon is waterproof and protects the lemon from rain and extreme weather. It acts as a barrier to keep water out whilst protecting the lemon pulp inside. When the lemon is cut, water gets into the lemon pulp. The extra weight from the water causes the lemon pieces to sink to the bottom of the bowl.

What other fruits could you try this with? Would an orange do the same thing? Are there any fruits that sink without being cut? Are there any fruits that always float, even after they've been cut?

Curriculum information

  • Summary

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