Using a modified version of the Predict, Observe, Explain (POE) pedagogy called PROVE (Predict, Reason Out, Verify), this paper describes how students began to use a process of iterative reasoning to develop their conceptual understanding of the law of flotation of objects, and how some of them came very close to understanding the principle, without the introduction of the necessary concepts.

Rowell and Dawson (1977a, 1977b) worked on developing students' understanding of density, which was deemed to be a prerequisite for understanding the law of flotation.

There appears to be general agreement between researchers that an understanding of the law of flotation warrants prior understanding of the distinction between weight and density.

The visiting teacher informed the class that she was going to explain exactly what Archimedes had discovered, and the law of flotation, but that if any of the students wished to think this through for themselves, they could leave the class so as to enjoy the fun of solving the problem themselves.