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In this activity related to Newton's Laws of Motion, learners build a boat powered by a propeller in the air. The airboats can be designed in many ways and can include various recyclables like plastic bottles, craft sticks, Styrofoam, and cardboard. This activity guide includes step-by-step instructions with images, an explanation of Newton's Laws, and focus questions. [Activity is publicly available through a web crawler capture on]

Quick Guide

Preparation Time:
5 to 10 minutes

Learning Time:
45 to 60 minutes

Estimated Materials Cost:
$5 - $10 per student

Age Range:
Ages 8 - 18

Resource Types:
Activity, Lesson/Lesson Plan, Model


Materials List (per student)

  • 1 Battery
  • 2 Motors
  • 4 Connection wires
  • 2 Brass fasteners
  • 4 Paper clips
  • 2 Medium to large propellers
  • Electrical tape
  • Knife
  • Hot glue gun (with glue)
  • Styrofoam
  • Materials to elevate motors: plastic bottles, popsicle sticks, styrofoam, cardboard, etc.
  • Container of water


  • Engineering and Technology
    • Engineering
      • Transportation Engineering
    • Technology
      • Transportation
  • Physical Sciences
    • Electricity and Magnetism
      • Electric Circuits
    • Motion and Forces
      • Momentum and Velocity
      • Acceleration
      • Newton's Laws
  • The Nature of Science
    • The Scientific Process
      • Conducting Investigations
  • The Nature of Technology
    • The Design Process

Informal Categories

  • Model Building
  • Toys
  • Transportation


To use this activity, learners need to:

  • see
  • touch

Learning styles supported:

  • Involves hands-on or lab activities


Includes alignment to state and/or national standards:

This resource is part of:

Access Rights:

  • Free access


  • Watsonville Environmental Science Workshop


  • All rights reserved, Watsonville Environmental Science Workshop, 2011