Life Boats, Pennies, and Passengers

On the heels of a successful Science Fair, fifth graders are tackling variables again in Science. This week, we used our math skills to construct "life boats" of 3 centimeters in height and floated pennies as our boat passengers. Students made hypotheses as to how many pennies their boats could hold before sinking. We had quite a range in numbers, which was interesting. Could it have been passenger placement, boat construction, or mass of the pennies? We also tested the capacity of each boat by filling it to the brim with water, sucking out the water with a syringe, and measuring it in a graduated cylinder. We'll be making boats of various heights-changing our variable- and testing those on Friday. Not only will students graph their results, but they will apply this week's math concepts of mean, median, mode, and range to find these elements in their data.

Jennifer Jordan