Let’s Do An Experiment

Matthew 14:28-31 has a story of Peter floating, then sinking. Let’s explore the science behind why things (or people) float or sink.

Let’s do an experiment. Does an orange float or sink when placed in water? What do you think?


A large bowl
An orange


1. Fill a bowl with water.
2. Put an orange in the water.
3. Does it float?
4. Peel the rind from the orange. Try the experiment again. Any difference?

When you first placed the orange in the bowl of water, it probably floated on the surface, but after you removed the rind, it probably sunk to the bottom. Why?

The rind of an orange is full of tiny air pockets, which help give it a lower density than water, making it float to the surface. Removing the rind (and all the air pockets) from the orange increases its density higher than that of water, making it sink.

Density is the mass of an object relative to its volume. Objects with a lot of matter in a certain volume have a high density, while objects with a small amount of matter in the same volume have a low density.

Next time you go swimming, notice that you’ll float better in the water if you fill your lungs with as much air as possible.

When you place a block of wood in a pail of water, the block displaces some of the water, and the water level goes up. If you could weigh the water that the wood displaces, you would find that its weight equals the weight of the wood.

This doesn’t mean that if you had a few blocks of wood that were exactly the same size and shape, they would each displace the same amount of water. A block of wood made of oak, for example, sits deeper in the water (and therefore displaces more of the water) than does a block of pine. The reason is that it’s heavier for its size, or denser. In this case, the molecules that make it up are more closely packed together than the molecules that make up the pine.

On the sea of life, there are floaters and sinkers. Which one are you? As long as Peter kept his eyes on Jesus, he walked on water. But when he took his eyes off of Jesus, he began to sink.

As we go through life, there will be some storms. We will encounter some pretty rough water. As long as we keep our eyes upon Jesus and put our trust in Him, we will be OK. But when we take our eyes off Jesus and put our confidence in our own ability, we will surely sink!

If you want to see what a typical boat looked like on Lake Galilee during Jesus’ time, get the latest KidsViewAR app (https://www.kidsview.com/app/) and point your device to the black and white image.