Can You Make a Penny Float?

Hand holding a pennyDo you know how to make a penny float in water? Use the instructions below to see if you can figure it out!

Hint: it’s all about density.

Find classroom instructions and the solution to this experiment on the Can You Make a Penny Float? lesson plan page.


  • Bowl or small pail
  • Water
  • Circulating U.S. cent
  • Ball of clay
  • Other objects that will sink or float, such as a paper clip, cork, ping-pong ball, or button
  • Paper towels
  • Science lab notebook


  1. Hold up all of the objects and predict whether the object will sink or float.
  2. Record your predictions for each object in your notebook.
  3. Drop each object into the water to see if it sinks or floats. Record your findings. Write down the qualities of objects that sink and qualities of objects that float.
  4. Challenge yourself to see whether you make the penny float. Use the objects you have, but nothing else.
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