Float It Down the River: The great water transport contestby: Sharon Brendzel, Lucy Orfan, and Robert Schuhmacher

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Float it Down the River is an exciting design activity that involves students in a hands-on, creative project in which they use higher order thinking skills in a motivating setting. Students working in groups of four to six are challenged to design and build a floating craft by following a specific set of guidelines. As they design their craft and carry out the activity, they (1) practice inquiry science, (2) discover a number of scientific principles, (3) apply mathematics, and (4) discover the relationship between mathematics and science.

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Reviews (2)
  • on Wed Jul 17, 2013 9:34 AM

Even though this article was written 13 years ago, it is right up there with articles in 2013 about using engineering processes in the science classroom. There are very detailed instructions on how to challenge students to create a boat that will go down the river. The students are given specific materials and the challenge goal.

Betty Paulsell  (Kansas City, MO)
Betty Paulsell (Kansas City, MO)

  • on Tue Jan 29, 2013 9:48 PM

Students are given a set of materials and engage in a competition. Students are challenged to”construct a craft that will carry the most weight down the river (and fit in the test bucket).” This activity involves all aspects of a STEM project. They learn the dynamics of floating objects, they following an engineering process using technology and math and test out their design. As the authors point out, there are many ways to modify this activity which seems like it would be a fun learning activity for students.

Adah  (San Antonio, TX)
Adah (San Antonio, TX)

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