Load the Cargo Ship
Hosted by: Bullock Texas State History Museum
Visit our Booth: Saturday, March 6, 2021, 12 p.m. - 4 p.m.
Recommended Grades: 4th, 5th, 6th
The Challenge: Travel back in time and think like a 17th-century shipbuilder as you create a boat that can carry supplies to North America! Using any size square of foil design a simple boat that is able to carry a cargo load of pennies. Test your boat in a basin or bowl filled with water to see if it floats. Then see how many pennies you can add before it sinks.
Upload a video of your boat creation and test or a picture of your boat and your pennies cargo to Flipgrid.
Recommended Materials: foil squares, pennies, basin or bowl, water. Optional materials: clay, playdough, popsicle sticks, salt.
How does this activity connect to STEM and today's Girl Day theme of Moving Around: Land, Water, Air and Space?
By the 17th century, people had already been exploring for thousands of years. So the need to transport heavy loads of people and supplies across oceans was a big challenge that early engineers grappled with.
We can be sure that they spent an immense amount of time experimenting with different ship materials and shapes, just like we are doing in this activity until they figured out how to best float and move vessels across great distances.
Watch the cargo ship video below to explore La Belle at the Bullock Texas State History Museum and to learn more about the "Load the Cargo Ship" challenge.
Learn more about La Belle at https://www.thestoryoftexas.com/la-belle/the-exhibit:
"In 1684, French King Louis XIV sent explorer René-Robert Cavelier, Sieur de la Salle, across the ocean with four ships and 400 people to North America. The explorer was to land at the mouth of the Mississippi River, establish a colony and trade routes, and locate Spanish silver mines. That plan was never realized. Instead, in a series of remarkable circumstances, La Salle lost ships to pirates and disaster, sailed past his destination, and was murdered by his own men. In 1686, La Belle, the one remaining expedition ship, wrecked in a storm and sank to the muddy bottom of Matagorda Bay where it rested undisturbed for over 300 years."
Visit the website to watch a video of La Belle, explore artifacts recovered from the shipwreck and more!
The Bullock Texas State History Museum is located in downtown Austin. Opened in 2001 as the official history museum of the State of Texas, we engage the broadest possible audience to interpret the continually unfolding Story of Texas through meaningful educational experiences. We tell the many stories of Texas, and how Texas is connected to the rest of the world, through artifacts, exhibits, and educational programs.
Since 2013, the Bullock Museum has partnered with Central Texas Discover Engineering to host a monthly event for school group visitors called Science Thursday. On Science Thursdays, professional engineers volunteer their time to run hands-on activity stations. These activities combine science and history, and students get a change to make projects, experiment with tools, or watch demonstrations.