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Senior Activity: Will it Float?

Updated on January 30, 2015

Fun Science Activity for a Senior Activity Program

One of my favorite segments on The Late Show with Dave Letterman was always Will It Float?, and I have reproduced the fun of this segment with my seniors, and we had a blast.

Will it Float? is a great activity for several reasons. First off, there is the element of surprise. You may have lived on this earth a good long time, but you can still be surprised by how a bag of popcorn behaves in water!

This program will also get the seniors talking and debating. Everyone has their own opinion about what will happen. And lastly, it's just silly. Silly is always fun.

It's All About the Presentation

You don't want Will it Float? to become a boring science class.

Letterman knew the key to making this entertaining - the girls putting on a show next to the tank. You will need to have your own show happening to keep this light and fun.

By no means am I recommending that you swallow flames or hold a circular sander against a metal chest plate, but you can make it fun by putting on a spectacle.

What we did was attach ribbons to the ends of two light up wands. Dressed it a pretty silly outfit, I swung my arms about and ran in place, singing "Will it Float? Will it Float?" in a far-too-excited manner. I did it just before every test, and each time I had the crowd roaring. Did I look insane? Yes. Was it effective? Absolutely.

Yogurt cupTube of toothpaste

Bar of Dove soap

Bag of marshmallows

A cantaloupe

A small watermelon

Container of Vaseline

Loose blueberries

An eraser

A bottle of vegetable oil (still in the bottle)

Aluminum foil (flat or in a ball)

a bunch of bananas

bag of birdseed

a pencil

a bag of coffee

a bamboo cutting board

a bag of unpopped popcorn

Some Items to Test for Buoyancy

Can of soda

Can of diet soda

An avocado

Bottle of perfume

Stick of pepperoni

Can of Crisco

Bag of cat litter

Bag of flour

A pound of pizza dough

A bag of walnuts

Plastic bottle of maple syrup

Jar of peanut butter

Brick of tofu

Box of wine

A pillar candle

A cotton ball

Letterman's Will It Float?

Make It A Game

You can make Will It Float? a team or individual game by simply keeping score. Keep track of people's predictions and if they are correct, they get a point. This may spark their competitive side to help to get everyone into it.

Aquarium Tank

A fish tank is ideal for your "Will it Float?" activity as it is see through and you can place it on a table to be best visible by the audience. A ten-gallon tank is large enough for easily visible items (like a brick of cheese).

Aquarium Tank, Glass, 10 Gal
Aquarium Tank, Glass, 10 Gal

I recommend asking around your facility to see if anyone has a tank you can use to cut on costs. It's amazing how many people have a fish tank in their basement or garage. You can also check craigslist for a cheap used one.



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    • Fran Tollett profile image

      Fran Tollett 

      5 years ago

      Fun senior activity :-) I bet they will all remember it for years to come

    • choosehappy profile image


      5 years ago from US

      My hubby and I always guessed if the item on Letterman would float or not....I swear, I rarely got it right, lol.

    • CherylsArt profile image

      Cheryl Paton 

      5 years ago from West Virginia

      Sounds like a fun activity for a get together, senior or not. : )

    • LisaMarieGabriel profile image

      Lisa Marie Gabriel 

      5 years ago from United Kingdom

      Might make a good game for the seniors at my mum's sheltered accommodation. They could have prizes as well!

    • squidoopets profile image

      Darcie French 

      5 years ago from Abbotsford, BC

      Super fun ideas for all sorts of gatherings :D

    • jr365 profile image


      5 years ago

      Great idea!! I like the way you turn it into a game for a classroom setting!

    • texan203 lm profile image

      texan203 lm 

      5 years ago

      A very interesting lens. Sounds like fun.

    • profile image


      5 years ago

      Will it Float is a great game.

    • iamraincrystal profile image

      Rosyel Sawali 

      5 years ago from Manila Philippines

      Sounds like a fun activity to try! ^_^ I think children will like this activity too ^_^

    • SusanDeppner profile image

      Susan Deppner 

      5 years ago from Arkansas USA

      What a fun idea for an activity! Makes me want to try those things. Wish my kids were here to help - they're grown and working. Fun lens!

    • profile image


      5 years ago

      Great lens, the videos really made me giggle. I might play this with my little sister when I next go to visit, I'm sure she'll have fun guessing which items float.

    • profile image


      5 years ago

      As a senior any efforts to improve exercise or activity of any sort is welcome. As time goes bye it is so easy to do nothing.


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