The Strongest Boat
Sunshine State Standard SC.H.1.2.2
knows that a successful method to explore the natural world is to observe
and record, and then analyze and communicate the results.
Cultural Objective: The student will understand the use
of ounces in the English measurement system (correspondence of ounces
Linguistic Objective: Comparatives and superlatives--more than,
less than, heavier, heaviest, lighter, lightest.
ESOL Vocabulary: Pennies, estimate, float, weigh, ounces, boat,
tape, design, strengths, weaknesses
Cummins' Quadrant--Three: High Context, High Cognitive Demand
2 sheets of typing paper (1 for practice, 1 for the final design)
of scotch tape
container of water (put some blue food coloring in the water to
make it look like "the ocean"
Bilingual dictionaries, visual dictionaries, metric converter,
written directions in simplified form with pictures, lab report form
What to do
Before the activity, group students into cooperative learning
teams of 3-5 students. Then give the students these
- Using one sheet of typing paper and the tape,
design a boat with your group. You may try different designs using one
sheet of paper, but your final design must be made from only one sheet
- Your boat must be able to fit inside the testing container,
hold as many pennies as possible, and still float.
- We will test each
boat and determine how many pennies each will hold.
- You may not test
any part of your boat in the water until the actual testing begins.
group will display their boat before the testing begins, give the name
of their boat, explain their design to the group, and estimate the number
of pennies it will hold.
- The winning boat will be the one that holds
the most pennies and still floats.
- Have each group weigh the number
of pennies their boat held.
- Make a class data table that includes:
group name, boat name, estimate of pennies held, actual number of pennies
held, weight of pennies held. Create a class graph of the information.
- Have students analyze their designs and discuss: strengths and weakness
of the design, changes that should be made, how they would make better
use of the materials, etc.
- All of the information should be put in lab
report form or recorded in science journals.
For all ESOL students
Write the directions in simplified language with
Label the "Testing
Have students add ESOL vocabulary to their
The hands-on nature of this lesson makes it appropriate for all levels
of ESOL students, although students at different levels can perform different
Model the directions using paper, tape, and pennies.
Make sure students
are paired with a buddy in each cooperative group. Students
can copy lab report from buddy.
Question--Which boat will hold the most pennies?
Students fill out lab report
with help from group members.
Question--How much do the pennies in boat 1 weigh?
Students fill out lab
Question--What are the strengths of this design and why? Students
record information in their science journals--allow them to use bulleted
lists and expect syntactic errors.
EXTENSIONS: 1.Scale diagrams and dimensions - determine surface areas
of each boat. 2.Observe effects of different variables: saltwater vs. freshwater,
warm water vs. cold water, etc. 3.Discussion or Field trip to port or boatyard
to observe how designs of boat is based on use/function of boat
Linda Pickett Miami-Dade County, Florida