Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Mayflower Nut

I found this simple activity at Scholastic. The kids enjoyed constructing and sailing their miniature models of the Mayflower, and we learned a bit of history and science in the process.

What You Need:
  • 1/2 of an empty walnut shell (I didn't have any on hand, so we collected some hickory nutshells from our backyard.)
  • a ball of Crayola Model Magic Clay(or a similar material) - 1/2" in diameter
  • 1 toothpick
  • a 1"x 2" rectangle of wax paper (I was out, so we decided to make little red flags instead.)
  • small, clear plastic cup or other container
  • blue food coloring (optional)
What You Do:
  1. Press the clay into the nutshell.
  2. Insert the toothpick through the wax paper twice. (Think sewing stitch.) This is your sail.
  3. Insert toothpick sail into the clay.
  4. Fill the container halfway with water. (You can put in a couple drops of blue food coloring to make it more "ocean-like" if you want.)
  5. Now try sailing your miniature ship in the container. If it floats, it's the Mayflower. If it sinks, then it's the Speedwell.
  6. Click here to learn more about the Speedwell. (Until this week I had never known that there was a second ship that started the journey across the Atlantic with the Mayflower.)
  7. You can also expand this project/experiment by testing different types of nutshells and/or clay-like materials to see what floats and what sinks.

Hope you all had a wonderful Thanksgiving!

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