A Holiday Boatbuilding Challenge

A Holiday Boatbuilding Challenge photo

Setauket Elementary School’s third-grade science club had the chance to learn about properties of boats and solid structures during a hands-on STEM-based learning challenge.

After learning about the 1620 journey of the Mayflower, the students worked with simple and commonly found household items to create small boats. They used such materials as construction paper, popsicle sticks, tape, paper plates, pipe cleaners and foil. Once designed, the students’ boats were placed in a water bin and tested to see if they could hold five marbles and sustain ocean winds, which were replicated using a blow-dryer.

During a subsequent meeting, the students worked in small groups to build a sturdy shelter for the pilgrims and tested to see if their creations could withstand the weather elements the new settlers would encounter when they arrived in America. The shelters were required to have a door and a roof, be only two inches taller than the paper pilgrims provided and could not be wider than a paper plate. Once constructed, they were tested on how successfully they could brave the weather using a water bottle, hair dryer and heavy jar of marbles, each respectively representing rain, wind and snow.