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Two Liter Propulsion Boat

Details

Space: 
inside
outside
Time: 
2-3 hours
Subject: 
English
Math
Science
Grades: 
4th Grade
5th Grade
6th Grade
7th
8th
9th
10th
11th
12th
Key Terms: 
Propeller
rubber band
boat
positive buoyancy
3D Print
stored kinetic energy
stabilization
Materials: 
Rubber bands
Two liter bottle
3D printer (optional)
Spoons
Scrap Wood

Lesson Overview

Teacher Overview:

This is a great lesson that requires a few materials that can be found at home or in your class.  It is an excellent project to teach two important scientific principles, buoyancy and stored kinetic energy.  The goal is that the boat will float and drive forward. Groups will want to use materials that are waterproof.  Each group will need to experiment with additional components, like fins, for stabilization, to improve the performance.

Student Summary: 

Your STEM challenge is to build a boat powered by a paddle using a two liter bottle, rubber bands and wood sticks.  Draw out plan and capture it. You will learn about buoyancy and its upward force. You might need a keel to keep the boat stabilized. If you have a 3D printer you could 3D printed the paddle.  If you do not, you can make your paddle out of plastic spoons or scrap wood. You will need to experiment with the paddle boat and test its buoyancy. The paddle forces the water back and the motion sends the boat forward.  Make sure to capture this experimentation. Last, you will learn that the paddle boat will move forward when the rubber band's stored (potential) energy is converted into (kinetic) energy and spins the paddle.

Lesson Phases

Plan

Write down two sentences explaining your plan and the materials you are going to use.
Description: 
Your STEM challenge is to build a boat powered by a paddle using a two liter bottle, rubber bands and wood sticks. Draw out plan and capture it.

Build

Look up a boat keel and explain what it does for a boat.
Description: 
You will learn about buoyancy and its upward force. You might need a keel to keep the boat stabilized. If you have a 3D printer you could 3D printed the paddle. If you do not, you can make your paddle out of plastic spoons or scrap wood.

Experimenting

How do things float?
Description: 
You will need to experiment with the paddle boat and test its buoyancy. The paddle forces the water back and the motion sends the boat forward. Make sure to capture this experimentation.

Race

Explain what kinetic energy is. What is stored (potential) energy?
Description: 
Last, you will learn that the paddle boat will move forward when the rubber band's stored (potential) energy is converted into (kinetic) energy and spins the paddle.

Student Video

Teacher Resources

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