Monday, September 30, 2013

Buoyant! Lighthearted! Upbeat!

All good words to describe this breezy book, What Floats in a Moat? by Lynne Berry.

This is will a terrific addition to the elementary science classroom for studying buoyancy, floating and sinking, constructing things and experimentation.

We have Archie the Goat and Skinny the Hen arriving at a castle surrounded by a moat.  Archie, who has a leaning towards a scientific nature, is not inclined to take the drawbridge option, unlike Skinny. “This is no time for a drawbridge.  This is a time for science!” Archie declares.

So, we get a series of trials of different floating contraptions made up primarily of a barrel with various amounts of buttermilk inside.  The S.S. Buttermilk, filled with buttermilk promptly sinks when cast off into the moat.  The S.S. Empty promptly tips over because it is too unstable without any buttermilk inside.  The S.S. Ballast is just right – it floats and sinks!

By the book’s end, Skinny is no longer a skinny hen due to drinking vast quantities of buttermilk and the Queen who lives in the castle isn't too impressed when she finds out that Archie doesn't have her buttermilk.  The life of a scientist is not an easy one.

The illustrations convey the comic sensibility of the story. An author’s note fills the reader in on a famous Greek scientist (of the human persuasion not the goat kind) Archimedes and his principles about water displacement.

This will be a fun and practical addition as a classroom resource.


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