Teaching Physics with the Physics Suite

Edward F. Redish

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Floating blocks*

In the picture shown below are 5 blocks. The blocks have equal volumes but different masses. The blocks are placed in an aquarium tank filled with water and blocks 2 and 5 come to rest as shown in the lower figure. Sketch on the figure where you would expect the blocks 1, 3, and 4 to come to rest. (The differences in mass between successive blocks is significant not just a tiny amount.)


* From M. E. Loverude, "Investigation of student understanding of hydrostatics and thermal physics and the underlying concepts from mechanics," Ph.D. Thesis, University of Washington, 1999.

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Page last modified October 30, 2002: M02