Titanic (1997)
 
Concept featured in clip: Archimede’s Principle (density, buoyant force)
Location of clip:

 


Play Flickclip Here

Summary of clip: There are many scenes where the Titanic is shown floating in the water and many scenes where it is sinking. These could be used to demonstrate dual properties of how a boat can float and also sink.
Connection of flickclip to the concept: Everyone knows that the "unsinkable" Titanic sank to the bottom of the ocean. As the shipbuilder in the movie says, "I assure you, it's made of steel and will sink." However, few people realize the principle that keeps this mass of steel or any other boat floating in the first place. This clip could be a great way to engage the students in learning about the physical properties of water, especially how things float in it.
Suggestions to teachers:
1. Suggested questions for students when viewing the clip:

a. If the Titanic is made out of steel, and steel definitely sinks, how can the Titanic or any other ship stay afloat?

b. What are some other things that have dual sinking/floating capabilities?

c. What are some factors that running into an iceberg could do to cause a floating ship to sink?

d. Why is it easier for things to float in saltier waters such as the Dead Sea or the Great Salt Lake?

e. How could floating in water be related to how hot air balloons work?

2. Before showing this clip you could divide up the students into groups to test floatability of different objects in a variety of fluids. They would have to weigh the objects, figure out each object's density and predict sinking or floating, given the density of the fluid. Doing this in fresh water would be a good start. Students could use objects such as wood, paper clip, nails, plastic, pebbles, high-bounce balls, and small steel or iron cubes. Then you could show the clip and have the students try and figure out why the steel ship did not sink initially. They could start by finding the dimensions of the Titanic to look for its density. Then students might reason because it is in salt water, because it has an engine, it's unsinkable. Have them research other answers. In reality it is because the ship contains lots of air, which has a much smaller density than water. When the air and the steel are averaged together the ship can float. However, when water begins to fill in the ship through holes, the ship becomes denser and it sinks.

3. As an assessment you could show this clip and have students describe what is causing the ship to sink. They would have to use all their knowledge of Archimedes law to help them figure out what is happening.