Things You Will Need
- Miscellaneous pieces of balsa wood
- 3 to 4-foot piece of string
- Small rock
- 3-foot piece of plastic gutter or long thin pan or PVC pipe cut lengthwise
- Small tack or nail
- Marking pen
- Clock with second hand or stopwatch
- Pencil and paper
- Get an adult to assist you with cutting flat pieces of balsa wood into 6 to 10 different shapes. Keep in mind that these are to be types of experimental boat shapes.
- Attach a small tack or nail toward the edge of one side on each of your test shapes.
- Tie a small rock to the end of the string and make a small loop in the other end of the string.
- Place the gutter or thin pan or cut PVC pipe on a table. You may need to place some objects on either side to keep it from rolling over. This will be your boat race-track.
- Fill the boat racetrack with water.
- Attach the string loop onto the tack or nail of one of the balsa wood shapes.
- Place the balsa
- Make a starting line and finish line on the edge of the race-track with the marking pen.
- Measure and record the time each boat shape takes to travel the same distance in the boat race-track. Which shape is fastest?
What Should Have Happened
The boat shapes with a narrow bow or front end should have been more streamlined and allowed the balsa boat to move through the water faster. The speed of a boat and its ability to move around in the water has a lot to do with its basic shape.
Webdate: June 11, 2002
Updated: July 2004
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