Math Access for Teachers and Home Child Care Providers

Who Sank the Boat?

Children will be introduced to weight and balance experiences and
will apply these experiences at the water table.

Content Area Standard Target
• Measurement
• Understand measurable attributes of objects and the units, systems, and processes of measurement
• Apply appropriate techniques, tools, and formulas to determine measurements
• Recognize the attributes of length, volume, weight, area, and time
• Understand how to measure using nonstandard and standard units
• Select an appropriate unit and tool for the attribute being measured
• Use tools to measure
• Develop common referents for measures to make comparisons and estimates
Obtain the Materials

• The book, Who Sank the Boat by Pamela Allen
• A water table or big bin, big enough to fill with water and have several children gather around.
• Half-pint milk cartons.  Washed thoroughly and dried and enough for every child
• A balance scale
• Chart paper & markers
• Weighted objects such as pennies, rocks, heavy manipulatives.  They need to be small to fit into the milk carton boats.

Note: Small parts create a choking hazard for children. Make sure that all materials you choose to use for an activity or lesson with children meet safety requirements. Small parts are not appropriate for children who are 5 years of age or younger.

Introduce the Activity

1. Before beginning the activity, prepare the milk cartons.  Staple the spout of each carton closed.  Cut each carton in half vertically to make 2 boats.  Add a sail by taping a paper triangle to a craft stick and place the stick in a ball of modeling clay in the center of the boat.
2. Explain to the children that today they are going to read a book titled, Who Sank the Boat and they are going to try and figure out which animal sank the boat.
3. Make a list of things that are lighter than, the same as, and heavier than.  Divide the chart paper into the three categories and list the children’s answers under the appropriate category.

Engage the Children

1. Read the book, Who Sank the Boat.  While reading the story, encourage the children to make predictions as to whether each animal will sink the boat or not.
2. After reading the book, demonstrate how the scale/balance is used.  Use the weighed objects and determine which object is the heaviest, which object is the lightest and which objects weigh the same.
3. Give each child a boat.  If you have time, you might allow them to decorate their boats to help distinguish the boats from one another.
4. At the water table, have the children place their boats in the water.  If applicable, you might want to have the children arrange the boats in order from largest to smallest.  Using the weighted objects, have the children try to sink their boats.  How many items does it take to sink the boat?  Have them experiment with the objects.  How many different objects does it take to sink the boat?  How many of the same objects does it take to sink the boat?  How many of the lightest objects does it take to sink the boat?  How may of the heaviest objects does it take to sink the boat?  Are the boats different?  If it takes 10 pennies to sink a boat, does it also take 10 pennies to sink another child's boat?
5. Have the children record their results.

• Blindfold a child (if they are willing) and using the weighted objects, have them take 2 different objects in their hand and compare the weightAsk: Which object in heavier?  Which object is lighter?  Have the children check their answers on the scale.
• Experiment with objects on the boat.  Challenge the children to sail the boat with 4 objects and then find out the 5th object that will sink the boat just like in the story (e.g., The boat is sailing or afloat with 4 different objects in it but when a 5th object is placed in the boat, it sinks)

Encourage Vocabulary

• Heavier – Having greater weight (e.g., "Which object is heavier?")
• Lighter – Having less weight (e.g., "Of the 2 objects, which is lighter?")
• Heaviest – Having the greatest weight (e.g., "Which object is the heaviest?")
• Lightest – Having the least amount of weight (e.g., "Which object is the lightest?")
• The same – Identical in kind or quantity (e.g., "Both objects weigh the same.")
• Weigh – To measure according weight (e.g., "What object weighs more?")

Glossary of MATH vocabulary

Supporting Children at Different Levels

Toddlers   Pre-K

Toddlers may:

• Not be able to differentiate and understand the weight of the object and the correlation to the sinking the boat.

Pre-K Children may:

• Understand the correlation between various weighted objects and the sinking of the boat.

Home child care providers may:

• Have the children use only one weighted object,  “How many pennies does it take to sink your boat?”

Home child care providers may:

• Blindfold a child (if they are willing) and using the weighted objects, have them take 2 different objects in their hand and compare the weight.  Which object in heavier?  Which object is lighter?  Have the children check their answers on the scale.
• Experiment with objects on the boat.  Challenge the children to sail the boat with 4 objects and then find out the 5th object that will sink the boat just like in the story (e.g., The boat is sailing or afloat with 4 different objects in it but when a 5th object is placed in the boat, it sinks).

Books

• Who Sank the Book by Pamela Allen (New York: Puffin, 1996)
• Floating and Sinking by Ellen Sturn Niz (North Mankato, MN: Capstone Press, 2006)

Music and Movement

• Sing:  Will it Float Song:
Sung to the tune of "When the Saints Go Marching In"
"Oh, will it float or will it sink?
Which will it be; what do you think?
Will it stay on top of the water?
Or, like an anchor, will it sink?"

Outdoor Connections

• Fill up a wading pool and have the children gather items that they want to “test” whether the objects will sink or float.  Objects can be either indoor or outdoor objects but make sure that there are no duplicates.  Each child should have an object.  Taking turns, the children will put their objects into the pool and see if their object sinks or float.  After the children have tested their object, make two piles: one for objects that float and another for objects that sink.

Web Resources

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