Week Forty-Eight: Boats in the Water!

1

October 20, 2015 by WittyLibrarian

bigboat
Program Title:
Boats in the Water!

Target Age Range: Tweens, Grades 4-6

Program Length: 90 minutes

Brief Description: Learn the science behind what keeps boats afloat in the water, then build and race boats of your own design.

Supplies:

Kiddie Pool

Water

Tinfoil

Straws

Pennies, at least 200 of them

Popsicle sticks

Tape

Pool noodles

Sponges

Other supplies that might float well. We had floral foam, dish scrubbies, balloons, paper and toothpicks on hand as additional options.

Timer

Cost: $ 0-50

Program Outline:

  1. Introduction of Topic

2. Explanation of how boats work and stay afloat. Ships and Boats by Chris Woodford on Explainthatstuff.com  is a phenomnal resource, indepth and clearly written.

3. Build tinfoil boats and see how many pennies they can hold

4. Build racing boats out of a variety of supplies.

Procedure:

Kids worked together in small teams to build boats using only tinfoil, with the main goal being to hold the most pennies. We gave them a set time limit to builpennyboatd their boats- 10 minutes- and after time was up, each boat was placed in a kiddie pool to see if it would float, and if did, how many pennies it would hold. At the first sign of water invading the ship, the penny count was canceled. Kids were riveted in seeing how many pennies each boat could hold, and counted each penny as it dropped in. Most boats were extremely sturdy, and hit our penny limit of 200 coins. We ultimately began dropping pennies in the boat in 10 penny increments, due to time constraints.

  • Build racing boats out of a variety of supplies.

happyboatWe were inspired by multiple sources for this activity: STEM Project: Junk Boats by Malia Hollowell on Playdoughtoplato.com, Which materials make the best boat? by Emma Vanstone on Science-sparks.com, Pool Noodle Boats Water Sensory Bin on Frogsandsnailsandpuppydogtail.com and Wind Powered Boat Eggsperiment #playfulpreschool on Multiples-mom.com 

We had a vast array of supplies on hand for kids to build their boats with. When teams had built a boat to their satisfaction, they brought their boat to the kiddie pool and set it afloat. Once in the water, a team member would attempt to blow it across the pool with only a straw, while a referee timed the voyage. Sailing times were then recorded to see who had the fastest time. Teams were allowed to modify their designs based on their performances.

Pennies and time

Resources Used:

Ships and Boats by Chris Woodford on Explainthatstuff.com  

Float My Boat on www-tc.pbskids.org

STEM Project: Junk Boats by Malia Hollowell on Playdoughtoplato.com

Which materials make the best boat? by Emma Vanstone on Science-sparks.com

Pool Noodle Boats Water Sensory Bin on Frogsandsnailsandpuppydogtail.com

Wind Powered Boat Eggsperiment #playfulpreschool on Multiples-mom.com

Additional Resources:

Sponge and Duct Tape Bath Boats on Thecrafttrain.com

Making Simple Boats that Float by Deborah J. Stewart, M.Ed. on Teachpreschool.org

What we would do differently:longboat

Whenever a program calls for kids to build a design of their own, it goes spectacularly well, and this was no exception. Both boat projects were well received and held the kids rapt. The only modification we would suggest is, if you offer pool noodles as a supply, cut them into small sections before allowing the kids to use them. Some very clever kids discovered that longer pool noodles could reach the other side of the pool very, very quickly, with little design modification!

Adaptation for older/younger audience:

This program would work well for a younger audience, both those in grades 1-3, and those is Pre-K and Kindergarten. We would suggest removing the competition element from the program if offered for a younger audience. Additionally, Making Simple Boats that Float by Deborah J. Stewart, M.Ed. on Teachpreschool.org has some adorable boat design options, perfectly suited to a younger crowd.

The program would work as planned for an older audience. Although simple in nature, the free build element of this program is ideal for a teen audience, and the competition aspect is a fun angle to help drive the program along.

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One thought on “Week Forty-Eight: Boats in the Water!

  1. […] STEAM Storytime with a couple sink/float stations. Insofar as an older audience, we did a boat building/racing program with 4th-6th graders that used some of these same scientific […]

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