Can You Canoe?

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In this activity, learners explore how engineering has impacted the manufacturing of canoes over time, including the development of new, durable, and lighter materials. Learners work in teams of "engineers" to design and build their own canoe models out of everyday items. They have a budget and must purchase materials from the "store." They test their models on water where they must travel 4 feet carrying a load. Then learners evaluate their results, and present their findings.

Quick Guide

Preparation Time:
Under 5 minutes

Learning Time:
1 to 2 hours

Estimated Materials Cost:
Over $20 per group of students

Age Range:
Ages 8 - 14

Resource Types:
Activity, Lesson/Lesson Plan


Materials List (per group of students)

  • Student Resource Sheets
  • Student Worksheets
  • Water
  • Large basin or sink
  • Measuring cup or pouring device
  • Popsicle sticks
  • Wooden spoons
  • Small wooden (balsa) pieces
  • Bendable wire (such as florist or craft wire)
  • String
  • Paperclips
  • Rubber bands
  • Toothpicks
  • Aluminum foil
  • Plastic wrap
  • Tape
  • Wooden dowels
  • Glue


  • Engineering and Technology
    • Engineering
      • Manufacturing Engineering
      • Metallurgy and Materials Engineering
      • Transportation Engineering
    • Technology
      • Transportation
      • Manufacturing
      • Construction
  • Physical Sciences
    • Motion and Forces
    • Structure and Properties of Matter
      • Mass and Weight
      • Volume and Density
  • The Nature of Science
    • The Scientific Process
      • Conducting Investigations
      • Gathering Data
      • Formulating Explanations
      • Communicating Results
  • The Nature of Technology
    • The Design Process
      • Research and Development
      • Invention and Innovation
      • Problem Solving
      • Troubleshooting and Maintenance

Informal Categories

  • Transportation


To use this activity, learners need to:

  • see
  • read
  • touch

Learning styles supported:

  • Involves teamwork and communication skills
  • Uses STEM to solve real-world problems
  • Involves hands-on or lab activities


Components that are part of this resource:

Includes alignment to state and/or national standards:

This resource is part of:

Access Rights:

  • Free access



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