Experiment with boat and submarine design and learn more about hydrodynamics, density, buoyancy, and more with a hands-on science project or activity. Build and test models made from everyday materials and explore ways to improve the designs for better performance and stability.
K-12 Science Projects and Activities
If you have a student that loves boats, Science Buddies has hands-on science activities and projects that make great explorations during the summer months. With plenty of room for kids to experiment with boat design (and testing of design changes), these STEM activities encourage innovative and creative thinking. Plus, kids can experiment with boats and submarines in a bathtub or even a tub of water or small wading pool for outdoor fun!
- Build a Bathtub Toy Raft Powered by Surface Tension: make a small toy raft from Styrofoam and explore propelling it with water surface tension.
- Milk Does Your Body and a Boat Good—Design Your Own Milk Carton Boat: build and test designs of model boats made out of paper milk cartons.
- Rocking the Boat: experiment to find the fin design that works best to keep a boat (made from a plastic soda bottle) from rolling back and forth.
- How Much Weight Can Aluminum Foil Boats Float?: make "boats" out of aluminum foil and experiment to see how their size affects how much weight they carry.
- Archimedes Squeeze: At What Diameter Does an Aluminum Boat Sink?: experiment with spheres from aluminum foil to explore hydrodynamics and the relationship between the density of a boat and its ability to float.
- Do Submarines Need Fins?: build a miniature submarine from a plastic soda bottle and test different types of stabilizing fins to find the best combination of stability and forward motion.
- Bottled-up Buoyancy: use a submarine made from a plastic soda bottle to investigate how changes in buoyancy affect whether a submarine dives or surfaces.
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