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Be a Scientist

Choosing good materials and a good design are essential in building a ship that can sail without capsizing, whether the seas are calm or stormy. For this activity, you will use your imagination to design a boat. Don't forget that there are many types of boats, including ocean liners, sailboats, rafts, submarines, and so on. Each of these boats is very different, and each has a different purpose. What is the purpose of your boat? What will your boat look like?


You need only a few of these objects. Don't hesitate to add others you think would be interesting.

  • aluminum foil
  • juice boxes
  • Popsicle sticks
  • corks
  • straws
  • plastic bottles
  • Styrofoam cups
  • Styrofoam plates
  • plastic plates
  • fabric
  • plastic utensils
  • modelling clay
  • tape
  • balsa wood
  • small marbles or balls of modelling clay
  • plastic containers (margarine or ice cream)

Let's get to work!

  1. Test all the objects you've collected by placing each one in a bowl filled with water. Do the objects float or sink?
  2. If the object sinks, can you change its shape to make it float? For example, if you put a ball of modelling clay in the water, it will sink, but what happens if you form it into the shape of a bowl?
  3. Once you have tested the objects, and the shapes that float, choose a material and shape for your boat's construction. For example: aluminium foil shaped into whatever form of boat you wish.
  4. Use the other objects you collected to decorate your boat.
  5. Test the sturdiness and stability of your boat by adding marbles or balls of modelling clay, one by one. If the boat capsizes, reshape the form.

Upload photos of your naval creations on Flickr at this address: http://www.flickr.com/groups/trythisout-essayer-ceci/. Use the tags craft and shipyard.


The Secret of Ships