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In this activity, learners build a speedboat using paint paddles, a propeller, and film canister. Learners attach a simple circuit and motor to the boat to power the propellers. Use this activity to introduce learners to Newton's Third Law of Motion, density and circuits. Note: a drill is required in this activity, and is not included in the cost of materials. [Activity is publicly available through a web crawler capture on]

Quick Guide

Preparation Time:
Under 5 minutes

Learning Time:
30 to 45 minutes

Estimated Materials Cost:
$10 - $20 per student

Age Range:
Ages 6 - 18

Resource Types:
Activity, Lesson/Lesson Plan


Materials List (per student)

  • 2 paint paddles
  • 3 plastic bottles
  • 2 electrical wires
  • 1 9V battery
  • 1 9V battery snap
  • 1 screw and bolt
  • 1 motor
  • 1 propeller
  • 6" wood dowel
  • 1"x2" wood block
  • 6 rubber bands
  • 1 airtight container, i.e. film canister
  • drill and 1/4" bit
  • hot glue gun
  • container of water


  • Engineering and Technology
    • Engineering
      • Electrical Engineering
      • Transportation Engineering
  • Physical Sciences
    • Electricity and Magnetism
      • Electric Motors
      • Electric Circuits
    • Motion and Forces
      • Momentum and Velocity
      • Acceleration
      • Newton's Laws
      • Rotation Motion
    • Structure and Properties of Matter
      • Volume and Density
  • The Nature of Science
    • The Scientific Process
      • Conducting Investigations

Informal Categories

  • Electronics
  • 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


  • Fresno Community Science Workshop


  • All Rights Reserved, Fresno Community Science Workshop, ©2011


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