Boating and pirates just seem to fit together and this was a revelation to me- like an ‘aha’ moment. Why haven’t I thought of this before now? I have several different STEM boating challenges and I have some fabulous pirate resources- so let’s put them together in a round-up of resources!
Just take a look at this list of goodies:
- STEM Boats and Sailboats
- Escape Room with Pirates
- Task Cards
- Reading about Pirates
I know, it’s a great collection! And, just think about it- if you are going to do a pirate room transformation, it is just about everything you need. Add an eye patch and some bandanas and you are good to go!
I have three boating challenges and let me just tell you this— kids love building boats and testing them and getting wet and sinking their boats. Especially sinking the boats!
The Building a Boat Challenge is my original activity during which students use a budget and choose their materials. The boat they build has to float and must hold weight. My favorite part of this challenge is watching the teams working together to decide what to purchase from STEM Mart.
I always use this with third graders but I have tried it with every grade. They all love it!
TIP: For boats, you are going to need pans of water. I use a large dishpan because these are easy to pick up and carry to the sink to dump out the water. I set up a pan in a central location and leave it all week when we are making boats. Students gather around the table and we watch as teams place their boats in the water and add pennies to test the boats. So much fun and so much cheering!
Building a Sailboat was the second boating activity I tried. I worked on this one because a lot of the students wanted to add sails to their boats in the previous challenge. Since we were not testing those boats for their sailing ability it was not necessary to add a sail.
But, I saw the student interest and we tried making sailboats and blowing them down a channel.
This is more challenging than you would think!
TIP: To make a boat sail you need a longer pan than a dishpan. I tried a wallpaper tray but it was too narrow. Then I found an ‘under-the-bed’ plastic storage bin and it worked perfectly. It was long enough for races and wide enough for two boats at the same time. I use a fan at one end to create the wind for our sailboats.
If you are looking for a great alternative to boats and sailboats, try Building a Raft. This one uses only a few materials and is more challenging than you would expect.
Those straws fill up with water and sink those rafts quickly. Students spend some time problem-solving on how to block the openings in the straws.
We were never able to get out rafts to hold a lot of pennies, but we still had fun making rafts and trying to keep them afloat.
I use the same floating pan for rafts that we used for boats!
Well, with boating we needed to add the pirates, right? I started creating Escape Rooms one year and could not make them fast enough. Students absolutely loved them and begged for one every week. One of our favorites was the Pirate Escape.
The Pirate Escape Room has three tasks. Each task leads students to a number clue and that number opens a combination lock on a box. Inside the box, teams find the next task to complete. At the end they open the last box and find the directions for a STEM Challenge.
The first task is to read about pirates and match their vocabulary to their meanings.
Task 2 has math problems to complete and task three has a mixed up treasure map to decipher.
TIP: My escape rooms have pages and pages of detailed directions for YOU. Read thru those pages and use the quick prep guide to keep you on track. I also include a photo directions page to show you step-by-step directions and the solution to each task.
The STEM Challenge that is included with the Pirate Escape Room is to Build a Treasure Box, of course. Students are so intrigued by the pirate stories that tell about treasure chests, so they want to build one.
And they will make fake treasure to go inside their treasure boxes, so get out your scrap box so they can make little doubloons.
I have two different task card sets for boating and pirates. If you prefer a printable I have a fabulous set and it is also available as a Boom set!
These two sets are the same– just in two formats. The printable set has four pages of a magazine layout that has reading passages about pirates. The printed task cards are used by students as they read the magazine articles.
The same magazine pages are also in the Boom set with one task card question on each slide of the Boom deck.
Both of these sets focus on nonfiction text features. The features are marked ansd students must identify the features or their purpose. There are also vocabulary and basic comprehension questions.
But what if you prefer a reading passage that is only one-page? Well, I have that, too!
This resource has one-page passages about pirate topics with the questions on the page. It also has a one-page magazine layout with three pages of questions.
With this set you only copy the worksheet- no task cards to print and cut out!
Pirates Print and Read– that’s right, just print, hand out, and read!
Ahoy, Matey! That has you covered in so many ways to transform your classroom into a pirate island with parrots, peg legs, and Captain Hook! Have fun and click on any of the images to see the details about the resources!
You might also enjoy these round-ups!