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Daily Classroom Special: Milk Carton Paddle Boats
About this Daily Classroom Special: 
Science to Go
provides easy yet meaningful science activities for grades k-8. Science to Go was written by Barbara Smith, Magnet Coordinator at Harvard Elementary, Houston (TX) and former Teachers Network web mentor.

Milk Carton Paddleboats

Objectives

Make and use a model, make observations, inferences and conclusions. Design and improve a mechanical device.

Materials

Water, container (wallpaper tray works best), scissors, stapler. For each model - two milk cartons, three rubber bands, two flat wooden sticks (like the kind that come in ice cream treats).

Activity

Each student will construct, test, redesign and retest their model paddlewheel boat. Staple the top of a one-pint milk carton closed. Put two rubber bands around the sides of the carton. Slide two wooden craft sticks, one each on opposite sides, under the rubber bands. Allow the sticks to extend beyond the bottom of the carton. Cut two small rectangles from another milk carton, fold in half, and attach together to make the "paddlewheel." Suspend a rubber band between the ends of the two wooden sticks, and insert the paddlewheel. Turn the paddlewheel to wind the rubber band. Test your boats in a long container of water. What problems did you have? How can you make the boat perform better?

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