Monday, March 25, 2013

Swimming Pool Physics

Have you ever wondered why you feel lighter in the pool?  Here's how one mom explained buoyant force to her preschooler.

"Mom, why can you hold me in the pool?"  My son has been too heavy for me to physically pick up for some time now, so he loves that he can be a baby again in the pool.  Of course, the answer is physics, specifically a force called buoyancy.

"What's pulling you down?"  (The force of gravity.)

"What helps push you up?"  (The force of the water, also known as the buoyant force.)

"That way Mommy doesn't have to work against gravity to hold you up all by myself.   The water helps me."

This conversation is leading toward the idea of net force, the totaling up of forces on a body that determines its acceleration.  It was also a satisfactory answer for my four-year-old on a beautiful day.

Related post:  Pre-school science: Ducky in the Bathtub 


  1. That's a great job answering without overwhelming. It's a perfect example of how to handle questions.

    Thanks for linking up to Science Sunday!

    1. Thanks Ticia! I'm looking forward to participating again in the future.


I can't wait to hear what you have to say! Thanks for sharing.