Featured in PASCO’s Physics through Inquiry Teacher Guide

Physics through Inquiry Teacher Guide


Features over 30 inquiry based labs covering the core topic areas of mechanics, electricity and magnetism, optics, thermodynamics and more.

Archimedes' Principle

Lab Summary

Use a force sensor to explore the relationship between the volume of fluid displaced by a submerged object and the buoyant force experienced by that submerged object.


Students explore the relationship between the volume of fluid that a submerged object displaces and the buoyant force experienced by that submerged object. Through this process, students discover:

  • The sum of the forces equals zero if the object is not accelerating.
  • Water provides an upward buoyant force on submerged objects.
  • That forces are responsible for some objects sinking and other objects floating.


Students gain experience conducting the following procedures:

  • Using a force sensor to measure the net downward force on the object submerged in air and submerged in water.
  • Measuring the volume of water displaced by the object by using a spill-can.
  • Calculating the weight of the displaced water using a scale or knowledge of the density of water.

Sensors / Equipment Used:

PASPORT Force Sensor


Designed to measure both pulling and pushing forces. Uses range from collisions to tug-of-war.

Materials Used:


String ~ 25 cm

Right-angle clamp

Rod stand

Overflow can

Short rod

Cup or beaker to catch water from overflow can

Graduated cylinder ~ 25 mL

Objects to submerge


Small cup to add water to the overflow-can

Water ~ 500 mL

Your Bundle Options:

Option 1:

Physics Starter Sensor Bundle


A sensor bundle specifically designed to get you started using probeware in your physics lab. Also: perform 26 of the 37 Lab Activities from Physics through Inquiry.

Option 2:

Physics Standard Sensor Bundle


Contains the probeware needed to perform all 37 lab activities in the Physics through Inquiry lab manual.

Interface Required

This experiment may require software and an interface for data collection.