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Name ofActivity Buoyancy and Boat Design
Author STOMP
Keywords boats, buoyancy, air resistance, base, sail
Subject Building/EDP
Grade Level 5
Time 1 Hour
Brief Description This activity combines the study of how upward resistance of water on a boat and air resistance on a sail to better build a sturdy sailboat. It is most effective when students have already done parachute activities and learned how to make a good structure that captures air resistance. Also, make sure to emphasize that the sturdiness of the boat’s base is important.
Learning Goals: - Teaches students to build strong bases
- Introduces students to buoyancy
- Utilizes knowledge of air resistance and how it can be advantageous
- Teaches students the importance of testing and rebuilding
Materials: popsicle sticks, coffee filters, construction paper, cardboard, string, masking tape, duct tape, weights, aluminum foil, saran wrap, straws, clay, tub, fan
Preparation: - Go through powerpoint (see attached) and prepare to present it in meaningful way.
- Arrange students in pairs.
- Make sure you have tubs that can hold water and a fan that can act as wind for the sailboat.
Knowledge Background Some prior basic knowledge of air resistance and buoyancy is helpful.
Procedure 1. Use PPT (attached) to introduce buoyancy and how that factors into boat design(about 6 minutes). 2. Divide students into pairs. 3. Allow students about 35 minutes to build a sailboat and test it first with weights in a tub of still water and then with weights in a tub of water next to a fan, to factor in wind and test the sail and stability of the boat when it moves. Encourage a lot of building, testing, and then redesigning and improving to test again. 4. In the next 10 minutes, make sure all groups have tested their boats at least once. Talk with them while they test to make sure they can tell you what works, what doesn’t, and why. 5. Use the last couple of minutes (about 8) to clean up and wrap up with a discussion of what the students learned.
Reference 1
Name ofActivity Shipwrecked: Circuits and Lanterns
Author STOMP
Keywords circuits, batteries, electricity, Snap Circuits, IEL
Subject Electricity & Magnetism
Grade Level 5
Time 1 Hour
Brief Description This activity was divided into two days. Day 1 was primarily free play and exploration so that the students could gain a sense of how circuits work and what electricity is. Day 2 was a series of three challenges to get the students to use different components of their kits and learn about series versus parallel circuits.
Learning Goals: Introduce students to electricity and circuits in the context of “Shipwrecked at the Bottom of the World” by Jennifer Armstrong. Have students develop teamwork and communication skills.
Materials: Snap Circuit Kits
Knowledge Background A basic understanding of how a circuit works.
Procedure Day 1:

  1. Introduced students to circuits and electricity by playing a game that demonstrated resistance and current. Students were assigned to be electrons running around the circuit. A few others were assigned to be resistors with a number of ohms of their choice (jumping jacks). When the electron students reached the resistor students, they had to do x jumping jacks to represent resistance.
  2. Students were split into pairs and given a Snap Circuit kit to explore. The goal was to turn the light bulb on.

Day 2:

  1. Challenge 1: Get the lightbulb and fan to turn on at the same time.
  2. Introduced parallel versus series circuits using a tollbooth analogy (next time: have the kids play a game!)
  3. Challenge 2: Make the lightbulb brighter or the fan turn faster. Explore using resistors.
  4. Challenge 3: Control whether the lightbulb and fan are turned on at the same time. Explore using resistors and switches.
  5. Class discussion about challenges of designing a circuit. Why do parallel circuits work better than series circuits sometimes?
  6. Discussed” soft” vs. “hard” engineering skills because the students had a difficult time working together and communicating in pairs. This discussion reinforced the importance of discussing a plan, compromising ideas, and teamwork.
PreviousActivity (if applicable) Shipwrecked: Insulation; Shipwrecked: Dirty Water
Umbrella Unit/Curriculum (if applicable) Shipwrecked!

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