STEM Lab Experience

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On December 3rd and December 4th, Mr. Surrusco's sixth grade science students sailed into a great STEM lab experience constructing aluminum foil boats to test Archimedes principle of buoyancy and displacement. All students first learned about liquid and solid volume and then reported some simple research on buoyant force being equal to the weight of displaced fluid and the relationship to Newton's 2nd law.

Students were paired together - one partner was the designer and the other, the engineer. They were only provided simple supplies - a sheet of aluminum foil, a metal tin, lots of water and a cup of candy "passengers."

At the front of the room, a sample boat was provided to borrow ideas and inspire their own creative winning design. Their challenge? Using a 25 minute time clock, students had to construct a 3 dimensional boat strong enough to float, designing a symmetrical shape and a stable body. Finally, they needed to apply Archimedes principle and float as many candy passengers as possible without sinking! Successful boats of all types were made: canoes, fishing boats, ferries and rafts raced for the finish.

The good news? A lot of passengers were safely floated, and the candy kept dry for all of the students to enjoy after a fun learning experience for all!