Lego Float Challenge
This is an amazing fun time with Legos, a plastic wading pool and some air and water squirting tools. The children get very excited as they build their boat and speculate on its ability to float. They are thrilled when it is their turn to propel the boat across the pool and some of them like the festive atmosphere of audience members cheering on others. Quieter people will stay away from the loud crowd if it is not their boat’s turn.
Students practice construction with Legos, learn about floatation (what does and what doesn’t) and discover ways to propel things on, under and through water. This is best done in warm weather and is always exciting and fun for everyone involved.
Preface the lesson with a statement that humor is imperative in this Lego build. Remind the children that sometimes the most success- ful bit of fun is with a boat that sinks or floats lopsided. Remind your students that success in this project often means getting the biggest laugh and amusing the spectators. People love to laugh at unex- pected occurrences and they are not laughing at the person who built the boat but rather at the antics the boat went through to get to the finish line.
2. A wading pool
3. Tape to mark start and finish lines
4. Something that will blow air and something that will squirt water.
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How to present it to your group:
1. Explain that there will be a time limit for each person to build a Lego creation that floats. Your task is to propel it from the start to the finish using one of the propulsion tools.
2. Everybody must start building at the same time. Do not allow testing in the pool or in the classroom.
3. When the building is done, assign each person a number and assemble everyone around the pool. Set up boundary lines so only the floater/boater is within one foot of the pool. The floater/boater will need space to maneuver.
4. Remind everyone that success has nothing to do with floating, some of the best boats sink. The object is to get it to touch the finish line tape. Lopsided boats and sinking boats are what makes this activity fun. If you made your fellow boaters laugh, then you are a winner.
5. Call the first boater/number. Give them a choice of propulsion tools to use, they can switch tools in the middle of their run, they can even use their own breath to propel the vessel. The only rule is that they cannot touch the boat with a tool or any part of their body. If they do, they must go back to the start line. If the boat sinks, they can propel it with water pressure or air pressure underwater.
6. When they have successfully reached the finish line (and they all will), they should put their boat on a drying area and cheer their friends on.
Lego boat float is a lesson on building and creating, engineering something that might float, the physics of propulsion, resilience (if your boat flounders) and humor.