Grade 1: Construct a Boat & Make it Float – Construction, Trial and Error, and Boat Revisions


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Reading Informational Text

RI.1.7 Use the illustrations and details in a text to describe its key ideas. 

Speaking and Listening

SL.1.3 Ask and answer questions about what a speaker says in order to gather additional information or clarify something that is not understood.

SL.1.4 Describe people, places, things, and events with relevant details, expressing ideas and feelings clearly.

SL.1.5 Add drawings or other visual displays to descriptions when appropriate to clarify ideas, thoughts, and feelings.

SL.1.6 Produce complete sentences when appropriate to task and situation.


This Grade 1 lesson titled “Construct a Boat & Make it Float – Construction, Trial and Error, and Boat Revisionsby Connecticut teacher, Kristina Kiely and cited on is designed to be completed in five 45-minute sessions of integrated English Language Arts and science instruction. After using non-fiction maritime-themed books and online resources on the parts of a boat, students work in small groups to choose from a variety of materials to construct a boat with all of the necessary parts to make it float. After construction, the student groups experience trial and error to see if their boat floats; they then make revisions based on outcomes of the trials and errors. As a culminating activity, student groups share their boat-making process with the class, and classmates can ask questions about the steps taken.


Connecticut teachers are cautioned that since this lesson was written, the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS) and the Connecticut Elementary and Secondary Social Studies Frameworks have been implemented. Teachers will need to replace those standards listed on this lesson plan with the standards that now apply to grade one students. Click here to link to NGSS standards. Click here to link to CT Social Studies Frameworks. Prior to teaching the lesson, teachers will need to look at the lesson materials for the prior knowledge that students need, as well as the materials that will have to be gathered for the boat construction activity. While there are many opportunities noted on the plan to assess students’ understandings, there is no aligned rubric that elicts direct, observable evidence of the degree to which a student can independently demonstrate the targeted grade-level standards.


This lesson is a good example of how to provide for authentic learning, application of literacy skills, student-directed inquiry, analysis, evaluation and reflection. Lesson activities build students’ science content knowledge and their understanding of reading and writing in science as it cultivates their interest and engagement. The lesson materials include: detailed instruction steps, literary and informational text suggestions, a list of possible boat-making supplies, a boat construction Trial and Error Checklist for students, Fun Facts Sheet on whaling boats, as well as links to related resources on the Mystic Seaport for Educators website.