Unit Overview

Students use math to predict which objects will sink or float and use what they learned to design submersibles.

  • Grades 1–5 (Designed for grades 3–5; includes modifications for grades 1–2.)
  • Setting: In school
  • Science connection: Floating and sinking
  • 5 lessons (8–9 class sessions)

Standards alignment

We’ve developed each EiE unit with careful attention to educational standards in both science and technology/engineering. View Standards Alignments.

Unit Map

Students are introduced to the concepts of engineering and technology. (30–40 min.)
The class reads a storybook in which a girl named Despina living in Greece explores the field of Ocean Engineering as she designs a submersible to retrieve her cousin’s goggles. (90–120 min., 2–3 sessions)
Students learn about the technologies that ocean engineers use to map the ocean floor. (55–60 min.)
Students investigate how an object’s mass and volume affect its ability to float in water. (80–100 min., 2 sessions)
Students follow the steps of the Engineering Design Process to imagine, plan, create, test, and then improve their own submersible designs. (100–120 min., 2 sessions)

Sample How-to Video

Sample Classroom Video

What's Included?

  • Teacher Guide (PDF)
  • Illustrated Story (PDF)
  • Print Materials (PDF)
  • Additional Resources