SaH: Building Boats

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Put your engineering skills to the test! In this experiment, you will be able to build, test, and rebuild a boat to find the design that floats the best with extra added weight. Share a video and pictures of your boat in action in the comments!



How many pennies can your boat hold before sinking?



  • Several pennies or other small objects of the same shape and size
  • Aluminum foil
  • Large bowl or tub
  • Water


What to Do

  1. Get a piece of aluminum foil. Fold and shape it to look like a boat or something that can hold pennies.
  2. Once your boat is built, place it in your large bin filled with water. Make sure it is able to float before you continue.
  3. Place the pennies into the boat one by one and count how many your boat can hold before it begins to fill with water and sink.
  4. Use another piece of foil and make a new design. Can this boat hold more pennies?


What is Happening?

This activity allows for experimentation trials, redesign, and retesting. Use trial and error to figure out what the best boat design looks like. Try doing some research online to look up ideas for your next design!

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We here at the Reading Science Center understand that these are unprecedented times. as such, we wanted you to know that we are taking the following precautions until further notice:

  • We have an air scrubber (Vollara) that we use in the Center
  • We have deep cleaning complete weekly 
  • Sanitizing every three hours using MICROBAN Sanitizing spray
  • Hand Snaitizer is readily available throughout the Center
  • Masking is required regardless of vaccination status
  • Limiting Hours (No Tuesdays until February)
  • Temperature Checks and an illness questionnaire
  • We respectfully request that if you or a family member with you is feeling under the weather, you visit us another time.  
  • If we need to close, we will post on Social Media as soon as we have made the decision

Thank You and we look forward to you and your family visiting the Reading Science Center!