Explore the waterways with a DIY sailboat

Show kids the importance of streams and rivers, home to diverse plants and animals. Help them design a boat to explore this important microhabitat.

What you’ll need:
• An assortment of corks
• Wooden toothpicks or skewers
• Hot glue
• 2 rubber bands
• Spool of twine
• Milk or juice carton, thin craft foam, or other sturdy recycled materials to use as sails
• Scissors
• Fabric or other environmentally friendly craft supplies to decorate the sail (optional)

• Follow the boat’s path for about one minute, then stop and write down what you see. Now follow the boat for another minute. What’s changed? Are the plants different? Are there more or less of them? Are other animals hanging out in this new spot?

• Try navigating the boat to hit a target in the water, like water plants or a rock. How do you think other creatures in the waterway interact with whatever’s stopped your boat? Why is this target important to the waterway?

• Pretend your boat is a fish. What do you think happens as it travels down the river? What will it see? How will it behave? What will it eat? Then try thinking about the boat as a bird, or even a water snake. 

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