Catawba County News

STEAM: Cartesian Diver

STEAM: Cartesian Diver

Published: May 13, 2021

Science principles become fun when they’re pulled out of textbooks and practiced in real life! In this experiment, we’ll take simple household items and see how discoveries made hundreds of years ago still hold water today (pun intended!).

The DIY project explores concepts of buoyancy, pressure, mass, and compression, and it also looks at the behaviors of fluids and gases. Happily enough, when you put the experiment into action, it becomes more clear how these ideas all come together.

For the DIY experiment, we’ll take items like a plastic bottle, a drinking straw, and a paper clip to show how the science works, and kids will have a great time squishing and manipulating the objects to see whether they react as expected.

The STEAM session is intended for elementary school students and takes place at 4 pm on Tuesday, May 18. To register and receive a kit and the Zoom code, visit

P.S. It’s called a Cartesian diver because it was named after 17th-century French mathematician and scientist René Descartes, who is said to have invented the little diver to help prove his theories.