gator science

active adventures in lower school science

Classic Clay Boats

on October 15, 2013

3rd grade students are preparing for their trip to Fenimore Park on Thursday to launch their Viking Ships into the stream.   As students study the age of exploration, the third graders are considering the science behind sinking and floating in water.   I gave each student a ball of clay and challenged them to find a way to make the object float in the water.   We discussed important qualities of floating objects that included air pockets, size, shape, and weight.  The best designs that helped the boat float the best had the following qualities:

high walls

thin floor and walls

large surface area on the bottom

no cracks or defects in the design

The class reviewed a number of important scientific words that related to sinking and floating that included:

buoyancy

displacement

density

volume (space)

weight – mass – gravity

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