I must have been inspired by Playing by the Book because I now often find myself thinking of activities when we read a new book. So, when we read Who Sank the Boat?, by Pamela Allen, I knew it was the perfect opportunity for an activity about floating and sinking.
Who Sank the Boat? is the story of a cow, a donkey, a sheep, a pig and a little mouse who decide to go for a row in the bay. As they get in the boat one by one, it tips and rocks and sits lower and lower in the water but “Who Sank the Boat?”
We used aluminium foil to make a boat and then tried to sink it. We role-played the story by putting a cow, a donkey, a sheep, a pig and a little mouse in the boat.
We saw the boat tip to one side or the other as we added the animals and that we needed to balance the weight in the boat to make it sit level, as the animals do in the story.
We saw the boat sink lower and lower in the water as we added animals until water flows in over the sides of the boat and the boat sinks (we were lucky enough to have one trial where the mouse did sink the boat).
We also played with marbles (each with the same weight) to see how many we needed to sink the boat.
Floating and sinking can be a difficult concept to understand, which is why it is a concept children should play with over and over. Here is a simple explanation for what is going on here - A boat pushes down on the water. The water pushes back up. When the boat pushes down more than the water pushes up, the boat will sink.
But what happens when your little brother puts his hands in the water and creates a stormy sea?