A STEM challenge for future engineers – building a mini boat that really floats.
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Creative Challenges for Future Engineers
I ill be the first to say that my 6 year old daughter is not very crafty. She usually creates with her mind, not with her hands. For more than a year now she’s been saying that she plans to become a mechanical engineer and run her own company where she will be inventing things. Her determination and dislike of crafting made me Perhaps this explains why she rarely responded with real enthusiasm to “invitations to create” that I see so often on other blogs. She was thrilled, however, when I gave her the following verbal challenge:
Using any type of material, build a boat that can float and hold one Playmobil person.
When I first posed Smarty this challenge before bed the previous day, she had a lot of ideas on how the boat can be built. The actual work became even more interesting when her classmate who lives on our street joined Smarty for this boat building activity. Together they decided that their boats need to be built with scrap wood, corks and drinking straws. I provided the materials and they were off building.
It was interesting to see how two kids of roughly the same age came with very different designs using the same materials. They were both thrilled to be able to use a glue gun. I find it almost impossible to convince daughter to use normal glue once she discovered hot glue and duct tape, but this project was a valid candidate for a low temp glue gun. Smarty is almost 7, her friend is a little over, and both of them were able to handle a glue gun on their own.
Testing Waters – Sink or Float?
I am not a professional mommy blogger – I forgot to take pictures of an actual “seaworthiness test” in the bathtub, because I was too caught up in all the excitement. Both boats “sort of” floated, and captains stayed in the boats, but both boats were leaning heavily and taking water. It will be very interesting to see if both kiddos will improve on their design in the next iterations or will try something new.
A Book Tie-InAfter reading this post, I wasn’t so sure that I really want to honor Columbus, but I thought that You Wouldn’t Want to Sail With Christopher Columbus (an affiliate link) gives a good overview of Columbus journey and highlights his wrong views about his discoveries and his struggles later in life. Smarty loves this series because non-fiction facts are presented and illustrated in a way that tickles her funny bone. I strongly recommend this series for fluent readers interested in history.
More Suggestions for Future Engineers
- Build a Leprechaun Trap
- Build an Olympic Rink
- Magic of Lego Bricks
- Gifts for Future Female Engineers
- Creative Challenges at Tinkerlab
Have you given your children an engineering challenge of building something from any sort of materials? What did they come up with? Leave a link in the comments if you are a blogger and wrote about it.
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