Shared by josh.nichols
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.
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.