Students worked in partners to create a boat from a single sheet of foil. Each group created a slightly different boat. My favorite idea was to use one of the partners' heads as a template for the boat (see photo below). The students also named their boats and shared how they came up with names. This may have been just as fun as the entire experiment for some! One at a time, the boats were placed in a pan of water and tested with half dollar coins.
After all the boats were tested, we discussed as a class which boats were able to hold more coins. The "winning" boats were larger with a flat surface on which the coins could rest. The smaller, more compact boats tended to sink with just a few coins.
*we added salt to the water to help with boyancy