May 3, 2010

Who Sank the Boat?

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.
Who sank the boat?

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. 
Who sank 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? 


Michele said...

you read my mind! My 5 yo has loved this book for a long time and we just started reading it to our 3 yo who LOVES water. Added this exact activity of list of things to do and started digging through the toy baskets to find all the animals. Was wondering what to do for the boat part didnt think of making one from foil was just going to use a plastic one but didnt think it was big enough so thanks for that idea

Great to see it in action - good fun! And excellent book.

Aussie Mum said...

I love this idea. My boys sometimes collect random objects from around the house before bathtime so they can play a game of "sink or float". Junior likes to try and predict which objects will sink and which will float. We also often read "Who sank the boat" but we haven't tried making our own boat! We will have to give this a go tonight.

miss carly said...

Sinking and floating is such an important concept and one that I find children just love to explore.

I have bookmarked that site!

Elise said...

Who sank the boat is a favourite here too! I like your idea of using alfoil to make the boat.

Tina said...

That is a fantastic way to extend the story and have heaps of fun! You have a lovely blog, with lots of interesting activities and ideas :)

Playing by the book said...

What a lovely post! I don't know the book - is Pamela Allen an Australian writer? - but I shall go and look for it now :-)

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Mark Brown said...

I and my kids also do that when we're in our pool. It's a good way for them to learn and have fun at the same time. Our pool excursions actually help them excel in science.