Science Week 8 – Dolphin Swimmers and Time Travelers

Foil Boats, Bridges, and Gumdrop Structures

Today we talked about the steps that engineers go through to imagine, design, and build things to solve problems.  Both groups drew plans and built aluminum foil boats.  They first made sure their boat floated, and then we placed pennies one at a time to see how much their boat could hold before sinking.  The record for the Dolphin Swimmers was 50 pennies, and the Time Travelers managed 70.  After their boat sank, each student thought about how they could improve their design.

The Dolphin Swimmers then worked on building bridges to span a 25 cm gap using straws and tape.  The Time Travelers were challenged to build a structure that could hold a book, using 10 gumdrops and 20 toothpicks.

Here are some questions you can ask your child:  

  • How would you change the design of your boat if you tried the experiment again?
  • Which shapes are the strongest?
  • How would you use those shapes in building your bridge/gumdrop structure?
  • How would you change your bridge/gumdrop structure if you were to build it again?

Feel free to help your Swimmer finish the bridge at home – they should have brought their materials home!