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Floating Ducks

Topic: Material properties

Thousands of rubber ducks are due to land on beaches in South-West England after a 15 year journey. 29,000 plastic yellow ducks, blue turtles and green frogs broke free from a cargo ship 15 years ago and have floated halfway around the world. Since then they have travelled 17,000 miles, floating over the site where the Titanic sank, landing in Hawaii and even spending years frozen in an Arctic ice pack.
Children will imagine finding some of these plastic toys washed up on the beach. They will discuss other objects that might have fallen off a ship and ended up on the beach. Children will build up collections of objects made of different materials and describe the objects.

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Try the Activity Learning Objective

Click to Download Floating Ducks teacher notes
Floating Ducks teacher notes

Click to Download Floating Ducks activity
Floating Ducks activity


· that objects can be made of different materials

Children will demonstrate this by completing the task on page 3 successfully.
· to sort materials into groups and describe the basis for their groupings in everyday terms eg. shininess, hardness, smoothness.

Children will demonstrate this by completing the task on page 4 successfully.

· to describe simple features of objects and communicate their findings by talking about their work and through drawings

Children will demonstrate this by completing the task on page 4 successfully.

Web Links

Daily Mail
Original story about the toys and their trip round the world

BBC Dynamo
A practical worksheet that allows children to think about what objects are made of.

BBC Schools
A colourful game in which children have to test their knowledge of what will and won't float in order to win the game. Great for children.

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