What Floats? Foster Elementary Students found out

Children are gathered around a carpet on the floor, looking at a screen, as their teacher looks on
Foster Elementary teacher Kathleen Herzog and her students Zoom with students in the Pocono Mountain School District competing in the “Float their Boats” challenge.

First- and second-graders at Foster Elementary in Mt. Lebanon got a chance to make a big splash on Tuesday.

They joined 10,000 students across Pennsylvania in a record-breaking “Float their Boats” challenge.

The goal of the “Float their Boats” challenge was for students to experiment by building a boat that could hold as many pennies as possible without sinking.

A group of children are playing with materials to find out what floats in water
Teams of Foster Elementary first-graders work on building their boats.

Armed with nothing but paper, foil and a fistful of pennies, Foster students partnered with students at Clear Run Elementary Center in the Pocono Mountain School District to float their boats, then analyze the results through a Zoom meetup.

“I’m guessing the two layers were heavier than the one layer. That’s why they were sinking,” first-grader Joey Pearson pointed out to his fellow boat builders.

“They look at something; it doesn’t work out; how do we make it better? It offers exciting opportunities for them to work a lot on being OK with not being perfect,” said first-grade teacher Kathleen Herzog.

The activity was a part of Remake Learning Days, which occurs each May.

“There’s a place in Pittsburgh called Remake Learning and they have special activities all over the city and all over the country to connect kids and help them learn in different ways,” said Foster librarian Bridget Belardi.

Remake Learning Days Across America is the nation’s largest family-friendly learning festival. This year, there are more than 175 hands-on learning events in southwestern PA.

“Students will also learn valuable lessons about collaboration, teamwork and virtual communication, all of which are vital employability skills for any of the career paths they may eventually choose to pursue,” said Dorie Taylor, producer for Remake Learning Days Across America.

For more on future Remake Learning Days Across America events, visit https://remakelearningdays.org.

A teacher leans over a table with children doing a science experiment
Foster Elementary teacher Kathleen Herzog goes over the rules of the “Float their Boats” challenge with first grade students.