Lesson Focus

Lesson focuses on how engineers and ship designers have developed boats with a goal of breaking a water speed record. Students work in teams to develop a boat out of everyday materials that will prove to be the fastest in the classroom covering a distance of 5 ft or 150 cm along a classroom trough. Students design, build, and test their speedboats; evaluate their designs and those of classmates; and share observations with their class.


Full Lesson Plan
Student Worksheets

Age Levels:

11 – 18


  • Learn about engineering design.
  • Learn about ship design and engineering.
  • Learn about world records.
  • Learn about teamwork and working in groups.

Anticipated Learner Outcomes

As a result of this activity, students should develop an understanding of:

  • naval engineering and marine architecture
  • engineering testing
  • problem solving
  • teamwork

Lesson Activities

Student teams learn how engineers have competed in a race for speed and then design their own speedboat out of everyday items, considering the fastest and most stable propulsion system they can create. They design their speedboat first on paper, build their boat, test and time it against those of other student teams, reflect on the challenge, and present to their class.


  • Teacher Resource Documents
  • Student Worksheets
  • Student Resource Sheets

Alignment to Curriculum Frameworks

Curriculum alignment sheet is included in PDF.