Saturday, November 19, 2011

The Mayflower, Corks and Boat Races

Whose Mayflower can sail the fastest?
The "SS Swag"
Sometimes I get my best teaching ideas at the last minute.  On Friday at about 4 in the morning, I woke up and was laying there staring at the ceiling, when all of a sudden the most awesome Thanksgiving lesson idea hit me- Mayflower boat races!  
My middle school science classes had been learning all about global wind patterns (such as the trade winds, horse latitudes, etc...) this week and this was the perfect tie-in.  We had talked about how the Mayflower had to use the wind (not a motor!) to sail all the way across the Atlantic ocean.  Then I gave my kids the following materials: a cork, a paperclip, 1/2 sheet of paper, string and tape.  They had 5 minutes to form their own groups and gather materials, 5 minutes to sketch out their design in their lab notebook, 10 minutes to build and then we headed outside to two large bins of water that I had set up.  One side of the water bin was "America" and one side was "England".  Their job was to get from America to England as fast as they could with only wind power!  The kids (and I!) had a blast!
Some kids only folded up the paper and put the cork underneath.

The boat to the left was the fastest one all day!

The square boat design worked pretty well!
These designs were so creative!  
And nothing gets by these kids- as one group was busily constructing their design, one girl turned to me and said, "so where did you get all these corks from, Miss?"  I looked at her without missing a beat and said "from the science room, so, no dear, I did not have to drink 7 bottles of wine to get them!"  Her group was cracking up and so was I!

Can you describe your life in just 6 words?


Susan (Reading World) said...

Great idea! Sounds like the kids had a wondeful time and got to stretch their brains.

Ron. said...

Crossover lessons are always most effective. I hope they were asked to do some writing about the experience as well...

That corgi :) said...

Too cute with the girl with the inquiring minds, wondering where the corks came from (honestly the thought went through my head as well with how quick you could come up with them). Great lesson plan and so appropriate with Thanksgiving around the corner! Happy Thanksgiving to you and your family!


Karen S. said...

Why Columbus of course! What a fun project!

Susan in SC said...

How fun! I know they enjoyed this project!

Kaylee's Education Studio said...

I'm sure this is a lesson they won't be forgetting soon!

Rose said...

What a fun lesson. It seems the hands on lessons are always so much more fun and better remembered as well. :-)

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