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The Sink or Sail: Boat Design Challenge activity allows participants to use everyday materials to construct a boat that they believe will float – the challenge is that they have a limited number of resources and must choose how to allocate their ‘funds’ to ‘buy’ the right materials. This activity can be competitive or done individually by participants.
Participants will get a brief summary of what makes a boat buoyant and why certain designs work. They are given a set number of wooden tokens and must decide what their boat design will look like and what materials they’ll use to build it. They’ll then ‘purchase’ their materials with those tokens and build their design. They have one chance to test their design and go back to make changes if needed. In the end, they can test their boat’s success on the nearby model boat pond; if competing with others, we’ll use glass beads to see which boat holds the most weight.
This activity can accommodate up to 4 groups of 1-3 participants each and takes 15-20 minutes.