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How Much Water Is in a Fruit?

Author(s): Nancy P. Moreno, PhD, Barbara Z. Tharp, MS, and Judith Dresden, MS.

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This activity will take at least two class periods and may be extended to three. 

While holding a bag of oranges up in front of the class, ask, How much water do you think is in this bag of oranges? Lead a class discussion about—and have students predict—the amount of water or liquid contained in just one orange. Make sure the students equate liquid with orange juice. Write their predictions on the board. 

Show the students how to measure the volume of an orange by measuring how much space it takes up or displaces in a beaker of water. If 1,000 mL beakers are not available, calibrate a large plastic cup or other clear container in milliliters.  Students must push the orange down, gently, until it is submerged entirely. Most oranges will displace approximately 150 mL of water. 

Ask students, Did the water level go up or down? By how much? Why? If students need help understanding the concepts of displacement and volume, have them consider how water level changes when someone gets into or out of a bathtub.


Funded by the following grant(s)

National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences, NIH

National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences, NIH

The Environment as a Context for Opportunities in Schools
Grant Numbers: 5R25ES010698, R25ES06932


Houston Endowment Inc.

Houston Endowment Inc.

Foundations for the Future: Capitalizing on Technology to Promote Equity, Access and Quality in Elementary Science Education