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Build a Raft

Source Institutions

    New York Hall of Science

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Build a Raft

In this activity, learners explore density and buoyancy as they design and construct rafts. Learners must build a raft out of five craft sticks, four twist ties, four straws, and one styrofoam cup that can support a cup full of marbles, while remaining afloat.

Quick Guide

Preparation Time:
Under 5 minutes

Learning Time:
10 to 30 minutes

Estimated Materials Cost:
1 cent - $1 per student

Age Range:
Ages 6 - 11

Resource Type:


Materials List (per student)

  • 5 craft sticks
  • 4 twist ties
  • 4 straws
  • 1 Styrofoam cup
  • Bag of marbles


  • Engineering and Technology
    • Engineering
      • Transportation Engineering
    • Technology
      • Transportation
  • 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
  • The Nature of Technology
    • The Design Process
      • Invention and Innovation
      • Problem Solving
      • Troubleshooting and Maintenance

Informal Categories

  • Model Building
  • Transportation


To use this activity, learners need to:

  • see
  • touch

Learning styles supported:

  • Involves hands-on or lab activities


This resource is part of:

Access Rights:

  • Free access


Source Collection:

  • TryScience


  • All Rights Reserved, TryScience/New York Hall of Science, ©1999


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