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Boating and Pirates, Oh My!

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!

In this post, for your convenience, you may find Amazon Affiliate links to resources. This means that Amazon will pass on small percentages to me with your purchase of items. This will not create extra costs for you at all! It will help me keep this blog running!

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!

STEM Challenges

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!

This STEM Activity is a runaway hit with my students. They cheer when they see Boat Building on our agenda and your students will too! There is just something about a STEM Challenge to build a boat and testing it to see if it will float (it will). It is totally fun to watch their faces and hear the groans when a boat sinks or celebrate with them when the boat holds a lot of weight! Try boating and pirates together!

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!

Students love this real-life STEM Challenge about building a sailboat! The engineering includes building a sturdy platform and attaching the sail. Add some races to the challenge and your students will be cheering loudly! A highly engaging project!

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.

One of our favorite challenges is to build a boat, so I knew students would love this Quick Challenge activity to build a raft. Students will love engineering the materials and creating a sturdy platform and they will cheer as they test it with weights.

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.

TIP: I use the same floating pan that we use for building boats! Dishpans are must-have item for STEM Labs!

Escape Room

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.

Ahoy, Matey! Are you ready for a grand pirate adventure? This Pirate Escape Room is a perfect culminating activity for your study of pirates. This unlock the box event will keep kids busy solving math problems, matching pirate vocabulary by using the context of a story and solving a puzzle of a mixed-up treasure map. They will have such fun and practice skills at the same time!

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! So fun!

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.

Task Cards

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!

Are you ready to walk the plank or swab the decks? Grab this Pirates task card set that features a magazine-style format with text features and comprehension questions. The highly-engaging articles are all about pirates - their clothing, style of speech, ships, and more!
This set of Boom Cards features 56 cards all about Pirates. Students will answer questions to identify text features or their purpose and respond to basic comprehension questions. These digital self-checking Boom Cards are such a great way for students to enjoy learning more about pirates.

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.

Are you ready to print and have students reading in a matter of minutes? These reading comprehension sheets with informational text are perfect in so many ways. The topic of this set is so much fun! It’s all about pirates. This would be great addition to your Distance Learning printed packets. The set is also perfect for a study of boats or pirates!

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!

A fun round up of boating and pirate resources to transform your classroom and keep students engaged and learning. Includes STEM, reading, task cards, and escape rooms.

Our Favorite Pirate Books for STEM!

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