STEM Activity: Land Ahoy

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STEM Activity: Land Ahoy

In this activity, boats aren’t just for water! Children use a limited selection of materials and their creativity to build a land boat that sails across different surfaces.

Materials Needed

  • Tape
  • Straws
  • Paper

At-Home Instructions

Using only tape, straws and paper, have children design land boats that they can sail across a table or floor surface. Challenge them to think about the boat’s body shape. Will it have sails? If so, how many? Ask what materials will help it sail smoothly. How will they keep it from tipping over?

Designate an area as the “pond” and have children race their land boats across the pond. After testing their boats, have them make changes based on their discoveries and then retest them. Encourage children to think creatively and critically by asking them what is working well, what needs problem solving and what other imaginative ideas they have for making changes. To keep the fun going, select a new “pond,” changing the surface material the boast must sail on. Consider any readily available surface: table tops, tile flooring, carpeting, tin foil, plastic or even grass!

Educators: Use this activity in the classroom.

This activity is classroom ready! Consider using paper from the recycling bin to show students how you can upcycle items for new uses.

What are we learning?

In this activity, children are challenged to learn the importance of accepting failure as an obstacle and the value of making modifications and retesting. Creative problem solving comes into play as children determine what is working well and what could be improved upon in their designs. Introducing new challenges with the “pond” surface encourages children to think creatively and be innovative to overcome obstacles!

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