Diver.jpgI enjoy challenging students to learn about science using common materials. A cartesian diver often requires the purchase of special materials. I, therefore, began considering what I might allow students to use to create their own cartesian divers. We first began trying to use pipettes and pieces of copper wire. I wanted to make these divers more interesting by allowing students to use left over fast food packets. I was amazed at how different these packets behaved.Materials.jpg

 

We filled the previously used water bottle with water. The "diver" was then placed inside the water and the cap was put back on the water bottle. Pressure was then put on the  sides of the water bottle. Many of the packets successfully acted as divers.

 

The cartesian diver is a way to understand about pressure and density. Changes in pressure result in changes in density. These changes allow the cartesian diver to sink.

 

I was pleasantly surprised at the use of recycled materials in this YouTube video showing the making of a cartesian diver from recycled materials.

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STEM Snacks questions: Please respond to these questions in a comment below.

  • What additional items would you like to allow students to try and see if they act as cartesian divers?
  • How might students use the information from this activity in their English Language Arts  or math class?
  • How might this activity engage students who usually are not interested in science?

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