What Makes a Boat Float?by: John Eichinger

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Whether or not a boat floats is determined by its shape and density. In this activity, students discover how and why boats float by designing different hull shapes and finding which design holds the most weight. Students record, calculate, and interpret data as they learn about buoyancy in this hands-on activity.

  • Elementary
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Reviews (4)
  • on Mon Dec 10, 2018 12:08 PM

What makes a boat float is always a puzzling question. This article has some great information and really gets you thinking about boats and how they float. There are also great hands on activities for kids to do while discovering what makes a boat float.


  • on Sun Dec 11, 2016 11:56 PM

I liked this chapter! I believe what I liked most is that the activity and content is very much applicable and do able in all early childhood grade levels. As I was reading this resource, I thought of the differences in doing this activity with preschool students vs. third grade students. Although modifications would have to be made, it could absolutely be done well. Love this resource!


  • on Mon Mar 03, 2014 9:48 AM

This book chapter has several detailed activities about floating with lots of resources and assessment ideas. It is a good basic resource.

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

  • on Fri Jul 15, 2011 10:36 AM

If you came across this chapter searching for content then this is a great resource with a bonus - the introduction from the book including a framework for how the activities are structured and fit into an inquiry based classroom are also presented. This also happens to be a great activity with detailed instructions to help walk you through the everything from the first discussion to the final grading rubric.

Caryn Meirs  (Smithtown, NY)
Caryn Meirs (Smithtown, NY)

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