See What Floats

At Centerpoint Lagoon on the Washington Mall

At Centerpoint Lagoon on the Washington Mall

I hung out at the Reflecting Pool yesterday with our team’s shortstop, Vanae. She showed Isabel, Benji, and me the most amazing thing! You see, her dad is a Navy officer, and Vanae has always loved to build model ships and remote-controlled boats.

Well yesterday Vanae taught us all about buoyancy, which is the force that allows boats and ships to float on top of water. Even if the ship is made out of heavy steel and has hundreds (or even thousands!) of people on board, the law of buoyancy keeps the boat afloat. Cool huh?

Vanae then gave us the most amazing demo. She set a huge leaf on the the Reflecting Pool’s surface and then stacked a few small rocks on top of it–and you know what…it still floated! The whole rig was like a homemade raft.

So today, I woke up early and rode Celeste down 16th street all the way to the middle of the National Mall, which is that huge green space in the middle of Washington where most of our national museums and memorials are located. And do you know what’s in the middle of the Mall? Centerpoint Lagoon of course!

So I sat beside the lagoon and repeated Vanae’s experiment–giant leaf on the water then pebbles on top. And what do you know…the leaf-raft worked for me too!

Speaking of the lagoon, most people think the Washington Monument is in the middle of D.C., but it’s not. Actually, the ground here was too soft, so Pierre Charles L’Enfant and Benjamin Banneker decided to move it about 400 feet to the northwest. And they built this small lagoon at the midpoint instead.

Oh, and another interesting fact…Centerpoint Lagoon is in perfect alignment with the White House (to the north), the Jefferson Memorial (to the south), the Capitol Building (to the east), and the Lincoln Memorial (to the west). All these buildings and memorials form a perfect cross shape, right in the middle of the city. I wonder if this layout has any special meaning to the city’s planners…

Something to think about, huh?


Purchase the BookPurchase Eighth-Grade Science Sleuth

Have you ever solved a mystery? We hope so because Sage and Isabel need your help.

The girls discovered an old treasure map near the Washington Monument, and they don't know exactly what it means.

Tag along with Sage and Izzy as they try to decipher the map and recover a priceless bounty.

Are you ready?