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Float-Your-Boat Challenge

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  • Aluminum Foil
  • Tub of Water
  • Pennies (Tip: You can use any small, uniformly sized item in place of pennies.)

Ahoy! Explore buoyancy as you build a boat that floats. How many penny passengers can your foil ferry carry before it sinks?

  1. Shape a square of aluminum foil into a boat.
  2. Place your boat in a tub of water and see if it floats.
  3. One at a time, gently place pennies into the boat. How many can your boat hold before it sinks?

Age Adjustments
  • Younger Children:
    • Talk about the shape of a boat, and help them create that shape with the foil.
    • Practice counting out loud as you add pennies to the boat.
  • Older Children:
    • Build another boat in a different shape, and predict which one will hold more pennies. Test to see if your prediction was correct!

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The Virginia Discovery Museum is a vital nonprofit community resource, but we will be closed through at least July 31 due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Please consider a donation to support us during this uncertain time. Donate Now