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Make Your Own Boat

Grade Level: K-8

Standards: K-2-ETS1: Engineering Design p.23 NGSS vol.1
3-5-ETS1: Engineering Design p.53
ELA/Literacy p.136
RI.2.1, W.2.8

Content Area: math, science, art

Recommended Length/Duration: 45-60 minutes

Goals: students learn about different types of wooden boats and the parts of the boats and then build a selection of paper or cardboard models to understand the different historic functions. Physical boat models  

(K-2-ETS1-2: Develop a simple sketch, drawing or physical model to illustrate how the shape of an object helps it function as needed to solve a given problem.; 3-5-ETS1-1: Define a simple design problem reflecting a need or a want that includes specified criteria for success and constraints on material, time, or cost.: 3-5-ETS1-2: Generate and compare multiple possible solutions to  problem based on how well each is likely to meet the criteria and constraints of the problem.)


  1. Discuss how wooden boats have changed over time, the different parts of different types of boats, and how these features allow boats to sail and float. Have the students fill out the boat parts diagram (attached)
  2. Give each student one or multiple paper boat models. They can decorate them however they please, including sails, names, etc.

Provide a new boats part sheet and have them fill it in from memory.

Discussion Questions: What are the different parts of the boat on your boat (boats)? Which boats did you choose to make? What, historically, were those types for? What cultures used them? If you could completely design your own new types of boat, what would you include?