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Strongest Boat Challenge – Virtual Science Space

Aye, aye captain!

Are you ready to tap into your inner sailor? Today’s STEM challenge asks you to build the strongest boat you can using your engineering skills and materials you have laying around the house. Test your creations on the high seas….or in your bathtub!

What shape are boats? Are they flat or do they have sides? Start off by googling a picture of a ship and seeing if you can recreate that kind of shape using Alfoil. 

What else sinks or floats?

What you need:

  • 1 metre of aluminium foil
  • A method of measurement (kitchen scales, bathroom scales)
  • Method of adding weight to the boat (rice, beads, pasta etc)
  • Imagination!


Engineering Design Process: Engineering and Science are very important parts of STEM. While on some levels they’re very similar (both experiment, both question, both run tests) they follow slightly different rules. 

 If you follow these 6 simple steps, you’ll be an engineer in no time. 

CHALLENGE: Engineers sometimes follow things called “design briefs”. They’re given a list of things their client wants and some limits (like price, material availability or size) and then they figure out the best way to build things. At Science Space, we call these “challenges”. But Engineers are always looking out for ways to make things work better. So look around you and challenge how things work – can you do it differently? 

EXPLORE: Science and Engineering share this step. Exploration and research are vital. What are you building? What are some problems you need to overcome? Is someone already doing the thing you want to do? How can you make their design better or different? What things do you have at hand to use? All of these are important research questions you need to answer! 

DESIGN: Making plans and drawing up the things you want to make is really important. Keeping a track of things you’ve tried will also help you when you circle back to this step after testing things out. Sometimes engineers can go through thousands of prototypes before they get to the best one!

MAKE: You’ve got to build it! 

TEST: Does your build do what you want it to do? Does it work? A note here too – you can build sections of your contraption or thing and test as you go. It all depends on what works best for the design and for you!

REFINE: This is the final step before circling back to the “Design” phase. What would make your thing better? How can you change it to make it work? These last four steps can circle for ages before you hit on your final build.



[OLIVIA] Hi, I’m Olivia from Science Space and I have another Maker Challenge for you guys today. So what you’ll need for this challenge is some aluminium foil, and a bucket or a sink or something that you can fill with water, and then something with some weight to it so here we have beads but you can also use rice or beans or really anything that has a little bit of weight. And the challenge is to make the strongest boat you can out of a metre of foil, so just get a metre of foil and you can fold it or form it however you want, and the idea is to see how much of the rice or beads you can put in it, so how much weight it can take. So you’ll also need to weigh what you’re putting in, so have your favourite adult help you with some kitchen scales or a weight you have at home so you can weigh how much that your boat can fit in it. And yeah so try this out at home, please post your pictures, tag us or post it in the comments when we post this video and we can’t wait to see what you come up with! Thanks, and see you next time!



Virtual Science Space is our offering to the community during these challenging times. We are aiming to help all aspiring scientists, engineers and STEM lovers alike to continue their STEM learning at home.

Using our amazing  STEM Team made up of real-life scientists, science students and aspiring educators to we have videoed awesome experiments, fantastic demos (that come directly out of our LIVE science shows) and put together some maker challenges for you and your children to do together at home.

As the COVD-19 situation is evolving at a rapid speed, we have done our best to quickly create these materials. As such, we have not edited ANY of these videos, and we ask that you please be understanding.  All videos will have closed captioning available via our YouTube channel.

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