Boat Building with different materials

Boat made of sticks and leaves

Build 4 boats:
1. Using only materials that are in your recycling bin (and tape or glue)
2. Using only materials found in nature
3. Using only duct tape and sticks or popsicle sticks
4. Using any materials you have access to (wood and nails in your garage, wine corks, etc…)

See which boat can float by filling a container with water in your backyard, or laying your boat in a natural body of water near your house (creek, lake, pond, ocean). Race your boats to see which moves fastest. Have a contest with your sibling to see which boat travels the farthest, then build a boat together using both of your creativity and problem solving skills that will beat both of your individual boats.

Boat made entirely of recycling and trash

Science Seed: This is an Engineering lesson from the Science Slice of Hydrology. Kids can practice engineering design thinking by planning, designing, problem solving and then redesigning each boat. They can learn about different materials, about density and the physics of floating on water, and about the movement of water if they have access to a natural body of water to float their boats in. The physics of floatation is that materials that are less dense than water can float on top of water. Water is particularly good at holding things up because of its chemical properties of polarity and surface tension. The one oxygen atom of a water molecule is slightly negatively charged and the two hydrogen atoms are slightly positively charged, so each water molecule sticks to the water molecule next to it, creating surface tension. This is why water striders can walk on top of the water, because water sticks to itself creating a surface that small bugs can walk on top of.