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Stem Newsletter Issue #11

All About Boats

It's hard not to get grumpy when it's the school holidays and it rains day after day!  Every parent dreads the effects of cabin fever.  Making boats might seem like a summer thing but they give you a great excuse for wrapping up warm and going out to a local patch of water and holding "the Races".

In this issue:

1. Surface tension or "soap" boat racers
2. Making a rubber band powered motor boat
3. Origami boat from A4 scrap paper
4. Make it from scrap boat
5. Motorised boat

With my own boys, we did this activity with their friends too.  They always started a little reluctantly because it meant less screens...but by the end, everyone was fully into it.

We had prizes too such as as: Best Looking, Quickest Sinker, Biggest, Fastest, Funniest, Most Likely to Sink...anything that's a bit funny turns it into a fun day of exploration - rather than taking it too seriously.

A hot cup of milo and some pikelets rounds the day off nicely 🙂  Enjoy your boats and tag us in your photos @sharperthinker on Facebook!  Stay safe everyone - Sophia

Make a soap boat

Play the YouTube video above for a more indepth (but clear) explanation of how these soap boats work.  Or,  here's another quick link that tells you how to make a soap boat:

Make a Rubberband Powered Boat

This YouTube video uses pieces from your plastic recycling and chopsticks.  You will need a hot glue gun!

If you would like a slightly simpler one to start with, I like this one from Teach Beside Me.  It's very quick and only needs some recycled cardboard and rubberbands.

Make a Motorised Boat

I wanted to make you a boat using our motor and switch tile but got caught up in how to make this waterproof.  If you get water in an electronic motor, it isn't very happy.

There are a few ideas on the Internet but I couldn't really find a good example of model boat that kids can make with a 1.5v hobby motor.    A lot of them started out with polystyrene - surely there's a better way?  I'll be chatting with Stefan about this and we'll see what we can come up with.

Don't forget, you can buy our "Go Motor!" Pack which is $29.  This will give you a motor, switch, screws, wires and a battery box to play with.    Perhaps you can invent me a model boat using a recycled bottle?  If you do, I'll share it everywhere!

Make an Origami Boat

You don't need origami paper for this boat.  It's folded from a rectangle so A4 printer paper (or recycled paper leaflets) work well.  I remember making these with my sister and we'd try and make huge ones using large newspaper!  See how big you can go.

Make A Boat From Scrap

This is where you get some clean recycling, cardboard, scissors, a hot glue gun and make whatever takes your fancy.  I used to do this with my kids a lot.  It may help if you pick a type of boat to make e.g. a sailing boat.  Recycled plastic bags make amazing sails.  Every sailing boat I made sank immediately - so I recommend tying string onto the end of your boat!  (This also applies in case of huge success - the boat sails away into the middle of the pond).

Other Ideas to try...

Try these:

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