Saturday, August 2, 2014

Cucumber Boat Investigation

I hadn't actually planned on creating this as a post, but set this out one day during our Pirate Week as an extra activity. The kids had so much fun with it, and it sparked such great inventive thinking, that I couldn't resist putting it together as a post.

It's cucumber and zucchini season here in New England, and as often can happen, the crops are producing quite a lot of veggies! For the last two weeks we've been able to take as many of both veggies as we want from our CSA, and we've been using quite a lot of them in the kitchen. But we did have some extra around and it seemed like it would be great for building cucumber pirate ships.

What was great about this activity was it was a day when we had several kiddos at the house. Their creative thinking spread to each other and created some great group dialogue.  

I had envisioned that we would just create boats, but as they had just been playing in the pool they became determined to create boats that would FLOAT. 

The original materials I set out included: large cucumbers, candy apple sticks/bamboo skewers, a melon baller, paper for sails, and markers. After creating for a while the kids also asked for corks, rocks, and rubber bands.

The original design for most of them included two sails on top and maybe a scooped out hole in the middle. They waited to sail them when most of them were finished.
(Unfortunately we'd also just mowed the lawn that day, so despite the pool being filled that morning it was pretty grass filled from the kiddos feet.)
But when they set them to sail, they all either tipped sideways or sunk. 

The lack of successful floating got them all thinking. They started adding things like corks, because they float and rocks on either side to balance them out (something they remembered seeing on a Curious George episode!) A couple tried rock pieces on the bottom too to try to keep it upright. Most of  them were still sinking, or tipping sideways. 

The successful design finally was created by the oldest in the group (age 7) who decided that maybe using two of them would work. He rubber banded them together to make a larger base and used a skewer through the middle to add balance. 

Everyone was pretty excited to see it work! 

I loved seeing everyone try to think this one out and problem solve. It's inspiring me to try and set up some more investigations for Big Brother in the future. 

Got large cucumbers or zucchinis? Give it a try!

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