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Boat Project

This is an in-class partner project with a partner write-up. The goal of this project is to help experience and reinforce concepts of buoancy and density while continuing to practice the scientific method. In this project, your group will be given materials to build the boat and together you will decide how to utilize the materials for construction. The question we will be attempting to answer is: What boat design will float the most cargo.


  • To design and build a boat with the greatest buoyant force.
  • To design and conduct an experiment using the scientific method.
  • Use our knowledge of mass, volume, density, and buoyant force to build the best boat.
  • Use technology to enhance the project.
  • Create a digital product (Podcast, PPT, Comic).

Testable Question

Which boat design has the greatest buoyant force?
Which boat design is the most efficient?


Project Sequence

  1. Develop a Project Proposal.
    • Testable Question
    • Hypothesis
    • Define Variables
  2. Construction of Boat
  3. Perform the Experiment.
    • Complete Class Data Table
  4. Begin Digital Product.
    • Experiment Details
    • Materials and Procedures
  5. Process Data and Create Graphs.
  6. Finish Digital Product.
    • Data Analysis
    • Conclusion.
  7. Create Project Podcast.



Digital Product                   300 pts
Construction/Performance    50 pts
      of Boat           
Total                                 350 pts


 Boat Testing

  1. Measure the mass of the boat with a scale.
  2. Fill a large container with water.
  3. Place the boat in the container filled with water.
  4. Place the pennies (weights) inside the boat until it sinks.
  5. Measure the mass of the pennies with a scale.
  6. Add the mass of the boat to the mass of the pennies.  This is the Buoyant Force of your boat.
  7. Calculate the Boat Efficiency using the formula :
Weight the boat held (g)/Weight of the boat (g) = Boat Efficiency



Boat Construction


  • 8.5 x 11 cardstock paper
  • 100 cm duct tape
  • 30 x 45 cm aluminum foil
Additional Materials (choose only two)
  • 1 snack-size Ziploc bag
  • 4 bendy straws
  • 12 oz Styrofoam bowl
  • 9 oz paper cup


  • The boat can be made only from the materials listed.  You do not have to use all of the materials given.
  • You may create any design you wish.
  • The boat is considered sunk if it touches the bottom of the container.
  • You will have two class periods to build your boat.
  • If the boat flips and all or most of the pennies roll out, the boat is considered sunk.

Boat Examples


Project Documents

Boat Project Document
Boat Project Rubric