Celebrate Columbus Day with a science experiment and a freebie! My students always enjoy our ship experiment.
Send home this note asking parents for supplies.
First, students will carve the shape of the ship out of the soap with a plastic knife. Just remind them that they can not touch their eyes when they are doing this. I gave my students a plastic knife and paper plate so cleanup would be easier.
Next, it is time to make a sail. Hopefully, you have read several books about Columbus so they know how important the sail was for the ship.
I had different supplies that they could use to make the sail. Materials included: construction paper, card stock, tinfoil, tissue paper, and fabric. They designed their sail and then glue it on a toothpick(s). The toothpick was stuck into the bar of soap. Remind your students to write their name on their sail.
On sailing day, it is helpful if you have parent helpers because this can be a messy experiment. Put ships in a ziplock bag when you finish sailing. Make sure students wash hands thoroughly so they get all of the soap off of their hands when you are done.
I sailed my ships in a small child's wading pool like this one:
Click on picture for the link.
We went outside for the experiment. My custodian was nice enough to fill the pool with water for me.
If you don't have a parent volunteer that can fill a pool or a really nice custodian, you could use a baby bath tub. There are traditional tubs or portable tubs like this one:
Click on picture for link.
It is small enough that you could use it in your classroom. With the portable one, you could fold it up and use it every year.
The first time I did this experiment, I let my students, one table at at time, sail their ships. Students quickly noticed whose ship sailed better than others and wanted to make changes to their ship. After everyone had a turn to sail their ship, we went "back to the drawing board" to improve upon our design. Isn't that what a good scientists does, observes experiments and makes changes based on observation? We sailed a second time after we made improvements. Then we recorded our results.
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Fern has a few tips to share with you, too. Be sure to hop over to her blog!
Each week, Fern and I will share a teacher tip. We love to read teacher blogs and the latest teacher idea books and hope you do, too! Stop by Fern's blog and my blog each week for our latest tips. We hope you will share your ideas, too.
Each week we will choose one person who shared a tip on our blog who will get a $10 shopping trip. We will announce the winner on the following Tuesday's post.
Do you have a tip to share? Be sure to include your email so I can contact you if you're the winner of the $10 shopping trip. You must leave your email address in order to win.
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