Sunday 12 August 2018

5 Minute STEM Activity 13; Floaty Paper Boat Challenge

Playing with water is great fun, but always make sure you are safe. Never lean your body over water more than 5cm deep without a safety harness or a responsible grown up, in case you fall in. You actually only need a sink half full of water to test your boat, but safety first...

We Are Sailing
Make a floating boat

A4 Paper - it will not survive it's bath, so scrap paper is perfect.
Wax Crayons

Hopefully you've made a paper boat before, and if not then it's definitely time. Paper isn't generally a very floaty material, but our boat can float for 5 minutes or more...

Step 1. Fold your paper in half, and half again, then unfold the second one, so you can see the centre crease (fold line).

 2. Fold in both top corners to meet the centre crease.

3. Fold up the bottom of one side, then turn over and fold up the other side.

4. Fold over the little corner triangles.

5. Pull apart the two sides at the bottom, turn it 1/4 way around and then press flat so that the two corner triangles are on top of  each other.

6. Fold the bottom half up over the top half. Turn over and do the same with the second side.

7. If you look underneath, you should have an 'open beak' shape.

8. Open the beak, turn it 1/4 way around and press it flat (same as before). Then Take the two top corners and pull apart to make your boat.

9. Your boat should look like this:.

10. Paper by itself isn't very great in water, as it disintegrates and falls apart. By covering your boat with wax, you can make it much more seaworthy. Wax crayons are usually made from Paraffin Wax and Colour Pigments, and although they won't cover paper completely, in the same way as a liquid, they can still do a good job. You can flatten the boat to colour it.

11. Test your boats! You can do this in a sink or a bucket if it isn't bath night. I lost! My blue boat sank first. The winner was the little green and white boat belonging to my 8 year old, which lasted over 10 minutes.

See how long your boats can last. Colouring in different ways and using different crayons can make a difference to how long they stay afloat. Did you colour inside the bottom of your boat?

If you want to try an extra sturdy boat, at step 7, go back to step 5 and then work through to the end. Your boat will be smaller and stronger - and we found lasted longest.

You may find that the weakest part is the folds at the bottom of the boat. They have less wax there, how could you ensure there is plenty of wax along the fold lines?

What else could you use to make your boat water-resistant, or even waterproof? We'll be returning to boats later on. What else could you make a boat from?

You can find the first 10 of the 5 Minute STEM Activities by visiting the 10th activity - 
Blowing out a candle with gas 
(There's a list with all the links at the bottom).

The 11th is Mind Control

The 12th is Cleaning With Acid


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