Science Week lesson plan: Floating flowers (KS1/KS2)

Demonstrate this simple but amazing blooming flower, science activity before letting the children have a go themselves.


  • Floating flower template (provided)
  • Saucer
  • Water
  • Scissors
  • Other resources including variety of paper types, liquids and craft materials
  • Timer (optional)


  1. Cut out a flower carefully from the template provided.
  2. Fold each of the petals inwards.
  3. Pour water into the saucer.
  4. Carefully float your folded flower on the water, petal-side up.
  5. Observe what happens.


As the paper absorbs the water it spreads through the folded petals by ‘capillary action’. The absorbed water makes the fibres in the paper swell and this swelling causes the folded petals of the flower to open up.


  • Does the way you fold the petals make a difference to how it opens?
  • Does the flower open in other liquids?
  • Does the same thing happen if the flower is made from other types of paper or card?
  • Do other paper shapes do the same thing?

Download PDF

Download a handy PDF version of this lesson plan for you to keep.


Science investigations now available to buy online

All of our science investigations are available to buy at our online shop. Individual investigations cost just £7.50 each and our whole school packs of themed science week activities for Years 1-6 are priced at £45. Click here to view all our science investigations.

Practical science beyond Science Week


Love to Investigate

Love to Investigate is a set of 126 scientific investigations that encourage children to be curious, ask questions and explore the world around them.

Our series of practical, exciting investigations cover tricky topics in new and unusual ways, including evolution, mechanisms and air resistance. All activities come with background knowledge for teachers who haven’t taught the topic before and method boards to help children work more independently.

Find out more about Love to Investigate.

Published by

Dr Fran

Dr Fran Barnes is Cornerstones' expert in primary science. Fran is a molecular and cell biologist with a passion for hands-on, practical science in the classroom. She writes our Love to Investigate series and the science topics in our curriculum.

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