NPO Tokyo Community School

Tokyo Community School



1-62-10 Nakano, Tokyo 164-0001

Tokyo Community School

Unit 2: “All Aboard” – Week 5

Unit of Inquiry

Sail Boats “Engine Power” – Boat Experiment Pt.4

This week we tried another type of motor powered boat using a propeller made from spoons!  We used chopsticks and rubber bands to attach the spoon to the water bottle.  Then we had to wind up the spoons and the unwinding power would power the propeller spoons and push the water bottle boats through the water.

Making the boat was actually pretty difficult for us since it involved a lot of wrapping of rubber bands.  We had to ask the teacher for a little help once the rubber bands got too tight, but we were able to do most of the tasks that involved wrapping tape and securing the chopsticks with tape to the water bottle.

Unfortunately this was not a very successful experiment.  While the engine itself was working in the air, when we put it in the water it didn’t move.  We think that maybe the spoons were not strong enough to push the boat.  We tried more rubber bands to make it tighter, and even took some off to make it looser, but there wasn’t enough resistance to power the boat through the water.  One of our friends used a foreign brand water bottle, while the rest of us used Japanese brand water bottles, and the foreign brand boat was able to move a little, so we had at least a partial success!  Maybe the next time we try this experiment we will try sponges, or something lighter since the water bottles seemed to be too heavy.



Rocking Boats

We made rocking boats for art this week.  When we were making the boats, the teachers didn’t show us an example of what kind of boat we were making.  The teacher was checking our listening skills and patience.  We had to listen to the teacher’s directions and patiently wait for our friends to finish before moving onto the next step.  It was a little difficult at first because some friends were talking when the teacher was talking, but by the end of the activity, we were able to listen to the teacher’s directions without asking her to repeat herself, or asking our friends to repeat what the teacher said.




We decided to celebrate Tanabata today by making our own tree from scratch!

We used our Tinkering Box, toilet paper rolls, and leftover cardboard to create leaves, branches, and the base.

First, we had to squish and stack the toilet paper rolls together.  Then, we painted the stem green. When we were done, we picked our favorite color paper from the Tinkering Box and rolled and twisted it until it was nice firm branches.  We then cut 5 leaves from colored paper and taped them on the branches.

The final step was writing our wishes!


Outing Day

Inokashira Park Swan Boats

For Outing Day this week, we went to Inokashira Park!  However, instead of playing around, we had a goal this time.  We were going to ride the swan boats.

Since we made water-powered paddle boats from spoons in class, we thought we knew how to paddle the boats, but it was harder than it looked.  There was no rubber bands or motor to help, we had to peddle the boat with our feet like a bicycle to move the paddle.  It wasn’t easy.  We got lots of help from the teachers, but if we didn’t help them peddle, the boat wouldn’t move.  Also, we had to peddle while steering the boat.  The teacher made it look to easy to do both together, but it was really hard to do it ourselves.  We decided that one person would peddle with the teacher and the other person would steer the boat.  We each took turns peddling and steering. It was hard-work, but we had lots of fun.

After lunch we had a little extra time before we had to go back, so we decided to check out the Aquatic Life Park section of Inokashira Zoo! We enjoyed looking at the many animals and ducks they had.  We wanted to see an alligator, but since they didn’t have one, we saw the giant salamander.

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