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Building Boats

Students sail away on miniature Crayola® Model Magic boats that they research and create themselves!

  • Grade 3
    Grade 4
    Grade 5
  • Multiple Lesson Periods
  • Directions

    1. Sailboats have been used for at least 5000 years. Ancient Egyptians drifted down the Nile with the current, then raised their sail to go back up the river. The Chinese invented a way to change wind. Canoes (kenu means dugout) were developed by the Carib Indians and other Native Americans over thousands of years. Rafts, kayaks, and many other types of early boats are also still used today.
    2. Have students choose any type of boat that interests them. Students research information about the boat's origins, the materials with which it is made, variations in design, and other details. Find photographs that show the boat's interior and exterior construction.
    3. Sculpt a model of the boat with bright colors of Crayola Model Magic. Use fingers to shape its basic structure and shape. Attach smaller pieces to the boat with a dampened finger. Use a craft stick to etch designs or shape parts of the craft.
    4. To make sails, cut red (the traditional sail color) or white construction paper into a triangle or rectangle with Crayola Scissors. Push wooden toothpick masts through the sails. Press the toothpick into a mound of Model Magic in the boat. For large sails, use dowel sticks to hold up the sails.
    5. For oars or paddles, flatten Model Magic, using toothpicks or craft sticks for supports if needed. Make paddlewheels, smokestacks, small lifeboats, or other designs to create an authentic replica.
  • Standards

    LA: Read with sufficient fluency and accuracy to support comprehension.

    LA: Ask and answer such questions as who, what, where, when, why, and how to demonstrate understanding of key details in a text.

    LA: Recount or describe key ideas or details from a text read aloud or information presented orally or through other media.

    LA: Write informative/explanatory texts to examine a topic and convey ideas and information clearly.

    SCI: Construct drawings or diagrams as representations of events or systems.

    SCI: Discuss the limitations and precision of a model as the representation of a system, process, or design and suggest ways in which the model might be improved to better fit available evidence.

    SS: Give examples that show how scarcity and choice govern our economic decisions.

    SS: Identify and describe examples in which science and technology have changed the lives of people, such as in homemaking, childcare, work, transportation, and communication.

    VA: Use different media, techniques, and processes to communicate ideas, experiences, and stories.

    VA: Use visual structures of art to communicate ideas.

    VA: Identify specific works of art as belonging to particular cultures, times, and places.

  • Adaptations

    Students research a specific country and time period, focusing on economic issues and how travel options extended or limited human lifestyles. In their research, students look at available natural and/or man-made resources for production of transportation vehicles. Students sketch a map of the focus country, identifying locations for access to natural resources used to create transportation vehicles. How did the availability of these natural resources assist with improving transportation. Research is to be organized into presentation format.

    Students research technological improvements that assisted with improved modes of transportation. Using this research, students will use Crayola Colored Pencils to create a timeline of improvements and sketch each of the improvements on the timeline. Research is organized for presentation.

    In small teams, students research significant human conflicts in our history. Note transportation used to move troops, carry supplies, etc. Create an electronic presentation documenting the use of transportation vehicles to assist in the war(s) and how improved modes of transportation changed the face of wars.

    Invite a sailor or professional boat builder to speak with members of the class. Have students prepare interview questions prior to the visit. Students post new learnings to a class blog after the expert's visit.


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  • Creativity.
  • Capacity.
  • Collaboration.
  • Change.
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