Cross, Float, or Hire

Cross, Float, or Hire

All Ages


Students learn the scientific principles behind bodies floating in water.

avatar Submitted By: Minecraft Education

September 18, 2017


  • Critical Thinking

Learning Objectives

  • Students will gain knowledge in buoyancy, weight, and the physics of floating across a river.

Guiding Ideas

Using aluminum foil, paperclips, bucket of water or a sink with water:

Students will experiment with buoyancy and create flotation devices with aluminum foil and paperclips. After experimenting, students will then determine how they will cross the river with their wagon in Minecraft: ford, caulk or ferry.

Student Activities

A river flows before you.  You have to cross.  Do you hire a ferry, caulk your wagon (making it a raft), or simply push your oxen to pull the wagon across the river?  Before you decide, let's experiment.

Use the aluminum foil and paper clips provided by your teacher to test the possible buoyancy of your wagon.  When you have completed the experiment, decide how you will cross.

Use the weight estimation from an earlier activity for your wagon to determine if caulking your wagon is a viable option.

Performance Expectations

  • What did you learn about the properties of objects that float?
  • What things did float and what things did not float in your experiment?
  • Based on your learning, what items should you keep for your trip ahead?


  • Critical Thinking