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Science for Littles: Building boats

Testing how many pennies aluminum boats can hold

Emma and Johnny had a blast with this simple boat-building activity at the Acton Discovery Museums. They were each given a roughly 6-inch by 6-inch sheet of aluminum foil, which they shaped into a boat. Then they tested how many pennies their boats could hold, first in tap water and then in salt water. They learned that wider boats held more pennies than narrow ones, so long as the pennies were spread out evenly on the wide boats. They also discovered that their boats held more pennies in salt water – but only if they were careful to not let any water into the boats when they set them in the bin!

I’m linking this post up to Science Sunday at Adventures in Mommydom.

MaryAnne lives is a craft loving educator, musician, photographer, and writer who lives in Silicon Valley with her husband Mike and their four children.

12 thoughts on “Science for Littles: Building boats”

  1. What a great activity to do in your own home. I think my children would really enjoy this, in fact it sounds like a perfect activity for tomorrow. Thank you for sharing this neat idea.
    .-= Elise´s last blog ..Swirly Whirly Drawings =-.

  2. This is a fun one that Joe would love to do, and I think Jack would like it along side him. Thank you for sharing this super idea! Love the Science behind it too. You are always so creative and resourceful.
    .-= Susana´s last blog ..Magic Tree House Knight at Dawn Unit Study =-.

  3. Elisa | blissfulE

    What a great way to see the different buoyant effects of salt and tap water! Thank you for sharing this wonderful idea.
    .-= Elisa | blissfulE´s last blog ..mourning =-.

  4. Awesome science project! I am also tempted to try it out, but thinking that quite a lot of salt is needed to make a difference.
    .-= Natalie´s last blog ..Computer Math Or Genie Who Was Let Out of the Bottle =-.

  5. @Natalie – I’m not sure how much they used, but it was quite a bit – enough to make the water cloudy.

  6. Great idea… For older students you could do some work on water resistance and up thrust. (that kind of thing)

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