In this easy to implement engineering activity, students read a story about a boat that sinks and then design and build a boat out of everyday materials. They test the boat to see if it floats and for how much "cargo" it can hold. This activity is easily adaptable for students as young as Kindergarten to as old as 6th grade. This version is written at a 1st/2nd grade level.
Students are guided through this activity by following the 5 step engineering design process: ask, imagine, plan, create and improve.
The main science concepts addressed include properties of matter, mass, density and buoyancy. The main math concepts addressed included measurement and mass. It would be very easy to also incorporate some graphing.
While not a part of this lesson, the activity could be used as a writing prompt for ELA.