Soap-Powered Boat

Soap-Powered Boats (6)

Here was a neat and quick experiment to continue Travis’s recent exploration of surface tension. Or more properly, breaking the bonds that create surface tension!

First, we crafted two cardboard boats. Cut boat shapes from old cardboard or the lid of a shoebox, then cut a deep V notch in the back of each.

Soap-Powered Boats (1)

Decorate with any favorite art supplies! We used markers, washi tape, and little triangles cut from paper for sails.

Soap-Powered Boats (2)

To power your boats, place them in a shallow bin of clean water. Then, dip a q-tip in a little bit of dish soap and touch it right behind the V in the back of the boat. As the surface tension of the water breaks, the boats propel forward!

Soap-Powered Boats (5)

Unfortunately this experiment isn’t easy to do repeatedly. We had hoped to race our two boats, but once the soap hits the water you can’t repeat it unless you dump, fill with clean water, and start all over.

Soap-Powered Boats (4)

But the boats were fun as Lego rafts once the STEM experiment was done!

Soap-Powered Boats (3)

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