Jul 29, 2013

WonderWorks: Does it Sink or Float?

Engineering meets buoyancy and boat-making.

Today's Topic: Will it sink or float?
tubs of water
items that may sink or float (light bulbs, full can of soda, pencils, keys, paperclips, balloons, plastic eggs, whatever you have on hand.  It will either sink or float or do something interesting halfway between.)
wooden skewers
foam sheets cut into triangles for "sails"


cover art Arthur's dream boat / Dunbar, Polly <div style='clear:both;'>&nbsp;</div>

cover art Captain Small Pig / Waddell, Martin

 What Kids Do: I was out of town for this great class, but left it in the trusty hands of my colleague Abby and Anne Moser, a guest educator from the Wisconsin Water Library.  They were kind enough to tell me a bit about how the class went and take a few pictures, so I'll share those with you!

First, an experiment to test what floated and what sank:

 and then the kids made boats out of sponges, straws and foam triangles
Variations to try: 
Another boat idea would be to challenge the kids to build boats out of sheets of aluminum foil, bending the sides up to keep the water out, experimenting with different hull shapes, etc. Then testing them in the water to see which design held the most weight.

Another great book to share would be:

cover art Who sank the boat? / Allen, Pamela

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