Foil Boat Challenge
Shared by: UT Austin Women in Mechanical Engineering
Recommended Grades: 3rd, 4th, 5th
The Challenge: Design and create a foil boat that can hold as many pennies as possible without sinking.
Recommended Materials: 12 in. x 12 in. sheet of aluminum foil, 2 popsicle sticks, masking tape, a large tub of water, and about 50 pennies (golf balls, marbles, dry beans, etc. can also work)
- Create a foil boat to float in the water and hold as many pennies as possible.
- Place your completed boat design in the water.
- Slowly add pennies to your boat, counting until it sinks. How many pennies did it hold?
- Can you redesign your boat to hold more pennies? Try different designs to see which boat holds the most pennies.
- Share your designs and tests on Flipgrid.
How does this activity connect to STEM and today's Girl Day theme of Designing for Communities, People and Animals? Have you ever wondered how a heavy steel ship can float in water? What makes some objects float and others sink? An object in water has two force acting on it. The first one is gravity, which depends on the weight of the object. The second is buoyancy, which depends on the amount of water that the object displaces. Engineers must design boats so that they are buoyant enough to balance out the weight that they are carrying! They use their understanding of buoyancy to design things like cargo ships, life jackets, and even pool floats!
Women in Mechanical Engineering (WME) at The University of Texas at Austin
Women in Mechanical Engineering (WME) is a student organization in the Cockrell School of Engineering which aims to inspire and empower women in mechanical engineering by creating a supportive community within the department through social, academic, and professional opportunities.