Students will start to learn about the concept of buoyancy. This took 4 weeks! Using aluminum foil, students will make different shapes and sizes of boats to see how much weight can be put into it before it sinks; yes a penny boat! Students will be allowed to (need to) make revisions (to model the scientific process) so that it can hold more weight compared to the previous version.
Inquiry question: what shape (for the hull) best holds the most amount of weight before your boat capsizes?
For this lesson, it took us 4 weeks long. The first class introduced a few terms at first then we modeled the lesson for them. We showed them the problem (drop too much weight at the same time) and the boat capsizes.
Ask: how can we make this not capsize so quick? Answer: add the weight slowly.
Activity: at the beginning, the teacher can work with the students to make a model foil boat to be tested. For example, a simple square boat. Afterward, ask students to make their own revisions to see which shapes of “hulls” can hold or more. Rectangular? Oval? Square? Triangular? Allow the students to try! Perfect time to review the first lesson we had. The student that can hold the most pennies or washers wins a prize or bonus mark. Students can learn the names of different shapes of hulls in English. Again, a review of the different parts of a boat can be done here as well.
Why this took 4 weeks: students had trouble making revisions as this was the first time being given the chance to work on this freely. They really needed someone else to do it for them, too much helicoptering. The teacher even asked us to do it for them! My response: no they need to play around with it for as long as they need.
Keywords: Buoyancy, float, capsizes, shape.
Note: Each student should be given the same sized aluminum foil. Teachers should measure and cut the foil out ahead of time.