STEM Activity Boat Building Challenge

Rated 4.88 out of 5, based on 1262 reviews
1.3k Ratings
Teachers Are Terrific
Grade Levels
3rd - 5th
Formats Included
  • Zip
28 pages
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What educators are saying

This was a great project - the kids enjoyed it the entire way through and loved getting to do part of it outside with a kiddie pool!
Kids love STEM challenges and this one was great. I love how they could select their materials and they had to be thoughtful about their selections. Great resource.
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My students cheer when they see Boat Building on our agenda and your students will too! This is a challenge you must try! There is just something about a STEM Challenge to build a boat and test it to see if it will float (it will). It is totally fun to watch their faces and hear the groans when a boat sinks or celebrate with them when the boat holds a lot of weight!

This challenge is available in several money-saving bundles!

What is the Challenge?

This STEM activity will have your students designing and building a boat! Using simple supplies you probably already have on hand, students choose which materials they wish to use. To make this even more challenging students have a spending budget for materials and must stay within it while building their boat.

What is the Prep for you?

Materials you will need (in addition to this package) include straws, masking, tape, craft foam, aluminum foil, waxed paper, plastic wrap, cups, water containers, weight (like pennies), and lots of paper towels! NOTE: Materials are what we used and you can choose differently depending on what you have readily available. You will also need to set up a float station in which to test the boats. A dishpan full of water will work!

This resource specifically contains:

  • Cover Sheet
  • Background, Materials, and Preparation page
  • 9-page Teacher’s Guide
  • Extension Page with ideas for more activities
  • 3 pages of photos
  • Constraints of the Task page
  • Pricing list for the budget feature
  • Cost sheet for students to use
  • 3 versions of a lab sheet- one with sample student answers
  • Scoring Rubrics
  • Editable Forms
  • Terms of Use page


You might also enjoy these STEM Challenges about Building:

Or grab all three Building Challenges in a bundle:


This challenge is available in several money-saving bundles!

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Total Pages
28 pages
Answer Key
Teaching Duration
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to see state-specific standards (only available in the US).
Plan and carry out fair tests in which variables are controlled and failure points are considered to identify aspects of a model or prototype that can be improved.
Define a simple design problem reflecting a need or a want that includes specified criteria for success and constraints on materials, time, or cost.
Generate and compare multiple possible solutions to a problem based on how well each is likely to meet the criteria and constraints of the problem.


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