Who Sank the Boat is a book by the author Pamela Allen, and it’s a great idea for an activity for your toddlers and preschoolers to help them understand weight and balance. This STEM activity will be fun and educational, appropriate for their year in school, so let’s look at how you can adapt the book to learn in class or at home.

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First, before we get started, here’s what you’ll need.

  • Who Sank The Boat by author Pamela Allen
  • Something to hold water (like a sink, a bowl, a tub, whatever is available!)
  • Something that floats in water make sure there is room to put pennies (an empty milk carton, boat, empty container)
  • Pennies, rocks, buttons (or any objects that are small but that can add weight)

Activity and Lesson Plan

Before You Read Aloud

Before you get started, show them the cover ask them the question: who sank it and why? Hopefully, their idea will change by the end of the book. Some students may know who sank it, but ask them to keep it a secret.

As You Read

As you read, remember to ask your students why is one side is sinking and not the other? What do you think will happen if [a cow, a donkey, a sheep, a mouse, a pig, etc.] moves to the other side? Why did the little mouse sink it? What is happening to the boat? The idea is to get children to understand weight and balance.

Discussing the story will help your students understand the basics, and then we’ll practice the theories in action.

After Reading

Now that you have read the book and talked about who sank the boat let’s turn to the activity. In this case, we’ll assume that you have a container to hold water, a milk carton cut in half, and pennies, rocks, and buttons. If these materials are not available, you can use anything that will serve the same purpose!

  • Gather your students around the container of water and place the boat in the water. It should be floating. Make sure that your students can see that the boat is floating.
  • Engage with your students as you add materials to the boat, starting with the pennies. Ask them how many pennies to add to the boat, and make sure to record how many it takes to sink it.
  • Repeat the activities with the rocks, the buttons, and a mix of all three. Be sure to ask your students questions like why the boat is sinking, why it takes fewer pennies than buttons to sink it, and so on.

Ultimately, you want your students to have a basic understanding of weight and volume, building a strong STEM foundation through cheerful, comical pictures, and the easy text is just right in picture books for young minds to understand.

Who Sank The Boat by Pamela Allen

This great book is available at most book stores and on Amazon in paperback, thanks to puffin books, so hit add to cart and get started today! It is a good way to get your friends and children to understand some basic STEM topics through a fun picture book, learning weight and balance through cheerful, comical pictures, one animal at a time!