Plastic Bottle Boats

June 20-24, 2016

An experiment in buoyancy. 13 kids, ages 7-14, made boats out of 2,000 plastic bottles, duct tape and scrap wood. At the end of the 5 day program the boats were tested at Blueberry Lake in Warren, Vermont.


Session 1: Sorting

June 20, 2016

Plastic bottles were collected around the Mad River Valley for 2 months before the program began. Neighbors dropped off garbage bags full of bottles at the shop, and a collection bin was set-up at the local recycling station. Our first task was to sort and distribute bottles amongst the groups.  One group had a vision for the Poland Spring bottles , while another wanted all the Gatorade and Vitamin Water bottles.


Session 2: Planning

June 21, 2016

Everyone was eager to get to continue working on their boats this morning. The day began with a planning session for each team to brainstorm and set goals for the day. Hanna made a detailed concept sketch for the "Under the Sea" boat.

After check lists were made and responsibilities distributed, the group began assembling their tools and materials. Ripley traded many of his smaller sized water bottles to other groups in exchange for gallon jugs - after he discovered that the handles were the perfect size for a piece of 3" roof strapping to fit through. He also cut a yoga mat in half and used it for his deck. 

One team decided to theme their boat on the lake monster living in Lake Champlain named Champ. They built a rectangular frame out of 1x4's and attached fins which they carved out of insulation foam. Wren worked on her paddle for the rest of the afternoon while her teammate spray painted the frame green.


Session 3: Painting

June 22, 2016


Session 4: Test Float

June 23, 2016


Session 5: Blueberry Lake

June 24, 2016