University of South Florida

USF College of Marine Science


Whatever floats your boat!

SOS boat smiles on the way to victory.

SOS boat smiles on the way to victory.

Lab rotation: Boat Float
Lab leaders: Makenzie Kerr & Brooke Loney
Peer counselor: Lauren Sasko

Written by, Makenzie Kerr, OCG Coordinator

During the “Boat Float” lab, campers learned about density and displacement with the goal of using only cardboard and clear tape to make a boat that can hold two campers for as long as possible.

Before building their masterpieces, the campers competed to make boats out of foil and Playdough. The group with the most marbles added before sinking won! As you can see in the slideshow below, it took hundreds of marbles to sink their sturdy boats.

After plenty of planning time, the girls were paired up and put to work. They worked quickly to put together huge boats to fit them both on the water. 


Soon after the timers started, two of the boats sank. The high sides made them hard for the girls to enter and after jumping in, the bottoms fell out. The last boat (SOS boat) floated for a whopping 6 minutes!

Check out this Instagram post for the last few seconds of their slow sinking: (You will need an Instagram account to view.)

Great job ladies!

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Mission Statement

Our blue planet faces a suite of challenges and opportunities for understanding and innovation. Our mission is to advance understanding of the interconnectivity of ocean systems and human-ocean interactions using a cross-disciplinary approach, to empower the next workforce of the blue economy with a world-class education experience, and to share our passion for a healthy environment and science-informed decision-making with community audiences near and far.