Cardboard Boat

ACP Lesson Plan (Please delete all red italics directions before you submit)
Title:  Cardboard BoatAuthor: Blake D. Jersey
Subject(s)Math, Listening and speaking, SEL
Grade Level(s): 11-12Total Time: 2 days, 12 hours and 35 minutes

Overview / Description:  Students will collaboratively design and construct a cardboard boat using a variety of tools and methods which will float and hold 1 human in the school pool.  

Learning goals/objectives:

After completing this activity, students should be able to . . .

  • Gain knowledge in using a variety of tools and methods to accomplish the goal of making a cardboard boat that floats and holds a student using basic geometric construction principals.  
  • Work collaboratively to plan, build and problem solve. 

Workplace Readiness Skill: 

 X   Social Skills X   Communication 
  X  Teamwork     X    Critical Thinking
 X  Attitude and Initiative  X  Planning and Organization
 X  Professionalism    Media Etiquette

Content Standards:

Math Geometry Standard:  

Making Geometric Constructions:  

G-­‐CO.12. Make  formal  geometric  constructions  with  a  variety  of  tools  and  methods  (compass  and   straightedge,  string,  reflective  devices,  paper  folding,  dynamic  geometric  software,  etc.).  Copying  a   segment;  copying  an  angle;  bisecting  a  segment;  bisecting  an  angle;  constructing  perpendicular   lines,  including  the  perpendicular  bisector  of  a  line.  

Language Arts Standard:  

Listening and Speaking:  

EE.SL.11-12.1 Engage in collaborative discussions. a. Prepare for discussions by collecting information on the topic. b. Work with peers to set rules and goals for discussions. c. Ask and answer questions to verify or clarify own ideas and understandings during a discussion. d. Respond to agreements and disagreements in a discussion. 

Educational Frameworks


B-SS 6: Use effective collaboration and cooperation skills

B-LS 1: Demonstrate critical-thinking skills to make informed decisions


Students will have to obtain their own cardboard by contacting local businesses (this is to work on communication and social skills as well as professionalism.) 

Videos:  Modular construction of Boats videoLCS Ship Built in Marinette, WI

Per Group of 2-4 students:

2 tubes of liquid nail

2 tubes of silicone

2 rolls of duct tape

scissors or box cutter

Boat Rubric

student swim suits

life jackets

Learning Activities:

WHO (T=Teacher Focus Lesson; WG=Whole Group\; SM=Small Group; I=Independent)

Learning Activity Task                                                WHO is responsible
for this step?
Approximate time
for task

Teacher shows video on boats. Review what will make a boat float (buoyancy, mass, thrust) Have a discussion with students on possible designs of boats.  Teacher shares the rubric to describe the boat they are to construct

WG20 min
Have the students work in groups to create a detailed diagram of their model boat.  Students will need to discuss the plan in small groups with the teacher to have it approved. Students gather cardboard from local businesses using professionalism and social skills. SG2 days
Teacher gathers materials above and distributes them to the teams of  2-4 students.  T5 minutes
In small groups teams construct a boat made out of cardboard. 

Students will take the boats to the school swimming pool and determine if the boats float for a minimum of 1 minute.  

Teacher will make anecdotal notes and use the rubric to complete assessments.  


10 hours

90 minutes

30 minutes

Assessment: Student diagrams will be collected.  Teacher will evaluate through observation whether students are able to professionally and independently obtain cardboard.  Teacher will keep anecdotal notes on students ability to collaborate, use professional manners, and problem solve.  Teacher will observe whether students use critical thinking to problem solve.  Cardboard Boat Rubric

Wrap-Up:  Teacher and students discuss the results.  Which boats were a success and which ones were not, and why. 

Discuss professionalism and what problems occurred in team planning and discussion and how issues were resolved.  

Discussions will happen with small groups to intervene on usage of tools and mathematical computations that led to inadequate boat flotation.  

Extension Activity (for intervention or enrichment):  Extension:  Students may devise a propulsion devise using any materials of their choice.  Intervention:  Students may use computers to assist in modeling of their boats if necessary.  


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