Social Distance Learning Project: Paddle Boat Design

STEM activities for kids that involve water, like this DIY plastic paddle boat, are always a hit. After learning how to build a paddle boat, have the kids testing it out in a dish pan or sink filled with water. Or coax them to experiment with their paddle boat in a bathtub. It’s a win-win for grown ups!
Video Tutorial: paddle boat
A plastic bottle, 2 wooden chopsticks, a plastic milk jug, scissors, duct tape, a medium-sized thick rubber band, a ruler, and a pencil.
1. Cut 4 rectangular pieces from the plastic jug. Each rectangle should be 2 inches by 3 inches. Use the pencil and ruler to measure and draw out the shapes and then carefully cut them out.
2. Fold each rectangle in half. Align the pieces in a cross shape and then tape the sides together one at a time.
3. Now attach the chopsticks to the opposite sides of the water bottle. Using the duct tape, attach them about ¾ of the way down the side. You will have 3 or 4 inches of the chopstick hanging off the back of the bottle. Wrap the entire boat with a piece of duct tape to keep everything in place.
4. Attach the rubber band to the chopsticks. It should fit perfectly. You don’t want it to be stretched out.
5. Finally slide two blades of the paddle through the rubber band. Now it’s ready to test in water!
Experiment with the boat’s paddle. If you wind it forward does it cause the boat to move forward in the water? Does winding it backward make it move backward? What happens if you move the rubber band closer to the boat? If you wind the rubber band multiple times, does it make a difference in the length of time the boat moves through the water?
Sponsored by National Grid.

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