administration student task rubric student work technical quality
Boat Building
Task with Student Directions
Contributed by: Kentucky Department of Education (KDE)


TASK: S2 "Boat Building"                               GRADE 12
STUDENT NAME:_______________________________________________
SCHOOL NAME:________________________________________________


The purpose of this task is to design and construct a boat made out of aluminum foil. On your own, you will construct an aluminum foil boat of your own design. As a group, you will test the boats to see which boat floats the best. Finally, you will respond to questions in this form on your own. READ ALL INSTRUCTIONS CAREFULLY AS YOU COMPLETE THIS TASK.


  • 4 six-inch square pieces of heavy duty aluminum foil (1 per person)
  • 4 index cards (1 per person)
  • 3 trays containing three different solutions
  • 75 steel ball weights
  • timer
  • paper towels


  1. Each person has ten minutes to design and build a boat with a piece of aluminum foil. You may design your boat any way you wish. You will be placing steel ball weights in it later to see how well it floats. Keep this in mind as you construct your boat.

  2. You should work alone during the first ten minutes and make the best boat design that you are able to make. You may use the trays of water to test your boat as you build it. You will share the trays with others in your group during this time. Set the timer for 10 minutes and begin now.

  3. When the timer rings, go to instruction number 4.

  4. As a group, you will now test each boat. You will have 20 minutes to do the testing. Set your timer for 20 minutes.

    You will decide which boat floats the best by determining the average number of steel ball weights each boat can hold before it sinks. Test the boats in all three solutions. It is important that each person in the group record the results for all boats in the space provided below.

  5. When you have finished testing your boat, write your name on an index card and place your boat on it. All boats should be placed in a location where everyone in your group can see them.

  6. The test facilitator will break up your group after the 30 minutes you have spent building an testing your boats. You will then complete this activity by yourself for the rest of the test period. You may not begin until your test facilitator tells you to.


  7. Make a data table that displays all of the information you gathered when you did your group testing.

  8. Describe the variables that influenced how each boat floated.

  9. Describe how placing the boat in the different solutions affected the ability of the boat to float. Explain why there might be differences.

  10. Suppose you were given a block of clay. Describe how you could design a boat to be built out of modeling clay that would carry the most marbles. Explain the reasons for your design.

  11. Describe how you would alter your boat design if the boat had to hold 300 steel ball weights.

Kentucky Department of Education                                  Performance Events, 1992-93


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