Mrs. Kennedy’s Intro to Engineering students explored structural engineering and naval architecture through a design cycle experience. How do you make a concrete boat float? They researched and brainstormed possible solutions. Working in small groups, they designed and built molds from cardboard and other household materials.

Once the molds were ready, they carefully measured water and cement until they achieved the consistency they desired. Groups could add aggregates including styrofoam balls and sand to the concrete to help make their boat more buoyant and stable. The molds were filled either using a positive or negative mold, and then the concrete was given time to cure.

Once modifications were made, and the boats were ready, the students headed out to the gazebo to put them to the test. Mrs. Kennedy timed each boat’s duration on top of the water.  While not all the boats floated, the entire class learned from the successes and failures of the project. The group discussed each boat and the factors that made them float – or sink.





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