Sail the Ocean Blue

This Columbus day, the kindergarteners of Rocky Mountain Elementary discovered what it meant to sail by wind power. They have been studying wind, weather, and time over the last few weeks and decided to combine their knowledge of these concepts with a litle history lesson. Their teacher read a short story of Christopher Columbus and how he sailed to the land we call America, and contemplated the question, "I wonder how we can make a boat sail across the ocean?"

Using the Design Thinking process, the students immediately began ideating a solution to this challenge. Discussions could be heard from every group around the room: What will float? How will we make it move? Where will the steering wheel be? Students used their knowledge of weather to decide that wind could push their boats. The whole group decided to look up pictures or boats and sails.

After spending time collaborating and creating their floating vessels, the students used a sensory table filled with water to test out their prototypes. A fan was used to replicate the wind. The first boat was placed in the table while another student sat at the end of the table with an iPad ready to record the test. As soon as the fan was started, the sails puffed up and carried the boat across the table. Cheers arose from everyone in the room as the boat hit the end of the table. "He made it! Hooray!" shouted all of the students.

The kindergartners of Rocky Mountain not only learned about Christopher Columbus on Columbus Day, they also learned about bouyancy and wind power.