Activity Time: Foil Boats

For today’s activity we are going to make a foil boat and test to see how many pennies it can hold!

Here is what you will need:

  • Aluminum foil  (approximately 6 inches x 6 inches) 
  • Ruler
  • Something to hold water (sink, bucket, etc)
  • Water
  • Pennies (or anything small that you can use to add to your boat to give it weight)

Let’s go!  

  1. Build your boat.
    • Most aluminum foil is 12 inches long.  Cut a piece from the roll that is 6 inches wide.  Then tear that piece into 2 sections.  
    • This will give you enough to make 2 boats. Only use a single piece of foil to build your boat. Save the second one for another boat

I made my first boat a rowboat shape.  

  1. Test your boat. 
    • Gently place your boat in the water.  
    • Does it float?
    • Make adjustments as needed to make it float.

Make sure you gently place your boat in the water.  I accidentally dropped one of my boats and it immediately filled up with water and sank. 

  1. Add pennies to see how many your boat can hold.
    • Add pennies slowly one at a time.
    • Do not make adjustments at this time – just wait and see what happens.
    • How many pennies did your boat hold?

Here is a video of my first test.

  This boat held 24 pennies!

New Challenges:

  • Make a new boat using what you learned in the first test.  Try again and see how it goes.
  • Make a boat using an entirely different shape.  I wanted to make a boat that held the most pennies, but didn’t look like a normal boat.

This boat only held 20 pennies before one of the sides dipped down and water came in over the top.  So, I decided to make a third boat to try and break my record! Check it out in the video below.

This boat did the best and held 27 pennies.  

Keep trying different boats and let me know in the comments how they worked out.  Were you able to get to 100 pennies?

Keep those pennies.  We will be using them for a future activity.  Here are other items we will be using in future activities:

  • Vinegar
  • Baking soda
  • Food coloring
  • Eggs
  • String
  • Tape
  • Cardboard tubes (paper towel and toilet paper rolls)
  • Other thin cardboard (cereal boxes, index cards)
  • Milk
  • Shaving Cream
  • Cream
  • Skittles
  • Balloon
  • Straws
  • Salt and Pepper

“See” you next time, 


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