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NSHOF Sailing STEM Program - Super Sails! Overview | Print |

"Super Sails!" - Curriculum

Learning Objectives - 5th Grade

Students will:

  • Become engaged in the science of sailing, specifically sail design and how a sail works to move a sailboat
  • Be introduced to essential background on the art and history of sailing, including terminology, so that they have a context from which to study the design and purpose of sails
  • Learn first-hand how sail design impacts sailboat performance

 

SuperSails-AACPS


Timing: 
Each of these lessons are a 45-60 minute lesson plan, designed to be presented over six weeks (they do not have to be consecutive weeks).

 

Note: An on-water experience is strongly suggested, to give students an opportunity to see for themselves how sails actually work as an integral part of the sailboat. It is also strongly suggested that this experience does not take place prior to the PBL, but after completing either Lesson 4 or Lesson 7. 

MOI = Method of Instruction (Research, Lecture, Workshop, etc.)


Lesson 1: Introduction to Sailboats

Introduction / Videos

 

Introduce students to the excitement of sailing and the science involved using one or more short videos available online.

MOI: YouTube videos.

The Language of Sailing

 

Students will learn about "boating language" — the unique terminology used to describe the parts of a sailboat and how they work to move a sailboat. They will also develop an understanding that while sailboat designs differ greatly, most of the fundamentals are the same. 

MOI: Presentation requiring student interaction.

Parts of a Sailboat

 

Students will learn and be able to identify basic sailboat components, including the hull, standing rigging, running rigging, sails and underwater appendages (rudder and keel or centerboard/daggerboard).  

MOI: Presentation requiring student interaction, video, Sailboat Parts ID Exercise.


Lesson 2: Evolution of Sailboats

Introduction

 

Students will learn how sailboats have relied upon the wind for propulsion. 

MOI: Presentation.

Early History

 

The very beginning of how humans learned to harness the wind and put it to use for moving them through the water. Students will learn about dhows, lateen sails, the need for ballast, and the evoution of the Marconi rig and its importance.

MOI: Presentation.

Age of Sail

 

Discover the period during the 16th-19th centuries, when international trade and naval warfare were dominated by sailiing ships. Students will learn about various sail designs, including the square rig, ketches and yawls, cutters and sloops, and catboats. The introduction of the spinnaker will also be discussed.

MOI: Presentation.

Modern Designs

 

Students will learn about more recent and radically different developments in sailboat and sail design, including multihulls and hydrofoils, and the science behind why they make such a huge difference in speed. 

MOI: Presentation requiring student interaction, videos.


Lesson 3: How a Sailboat Works

Introduction

 

After reviewing terminology and other concepts learned, student learn about how two different systems — aerodynamic and hydrodynamic — work together to make for a complex system that determines how the interaction of the wind, sails, hull, water, and keel all effect a boats propulsion

MOI: Presentation requiring student interaction, videos.

Sails

 

Discuss the difference between the "push" and "pull" modes of sailing, and how wind "bends" around sails as it goes by, creating pressure differences.  

MOI: Presentation requiring student interaction, videos. Fan & Hand Exercise.

Keel

 

Discover the importance of the keel to a sailboat's performance, and learn the basic physics principles that lead to the keel's multiple roles in not only propelling the boat forward, but also in preventing a monohull sailboat from both going sideways and flipping over. 

MOI: Presentation requiring student interaction.


Lesson 4: Hulls and Sails

Why a Sailboat's Hull is So Important

 

Students learn about how a hull affects vessel stability, speed and passenger comfort, and the tradeoffs that are made between these ideals when selecting different hull types and designing hull shapes.

MOI: Presentation requiring student interaction

Hull Types

 

The different hull types (monohull, catamaran and trimaran) are introduced and their features compared.

MOI: Presentation requiring student interaction.

Keel Types

 

Along with hull type, the type and size of a sailboat's keel has a tremendous impact in how the sailboat will perform. The pros and cons of full keel, fin keel, bulb keel and winged keel designs are discussed.

MOI: Presentation requiring student interaction. 

 

Hull Displacement

 

Students are introduced to the concept of hull displacement (the amount of water that is "shoved" aside by the weight of the sailboat and replaced with the inner volume of the boat). How water salinity affects hull displacement is discussed.

MOI: Presentation requiring student interaction, worksheets.

 

Displacement / Length Ratio (D/L)

 

An introduction to the mathematical calculation that is so important in determining a sailboat design's purpose and performance. Students will learn what constitutes a heavy displacement versus a light displacement hull, and why an ideal D/L ratio is based on how the boat is to be used, so there is no "best" number.  

MOI: Presentation requiring student interaction, worksheets.

Ballast / Displacement Ratio (B/D)

  In addition to D/L, the amount of weight, or ballast, that a sailboat carries in it's hull or on its keel will work to counter the "heel" (leaning over) that is created by the wind on the sails. Students will learn that the right B/D ratio will enable a sailboat to go faster without becoming unstable, while a heavy B/D slows a boat down, and a light B/D creates instability that can be dangerous, depending on the boat's intended use and where it will be sailed.

MOI: Presentation requiring student interaction, worksheets.

Sail Lift and Sail Area (SA)

  Students will review how sails are used to generate lift, and thus speed. They will also learn how to measure and calculate Sail Area (SA) in order to determine a sail's potential for generating speed. 

MOI: Presentation requiring student interaction.


Calculating SA

  When an object is in the way students will need to learn to head off to keep a proper course. If they don't head off they will add error to their courses.

MOI: Student measurement exercise, videos.


Lesson 5a: Hull Speed and Buoyancy - Part 1

Speed

 

After reviewing previous lessons, students are introduced to how all of the concepts they have learned are used together to determine a boat's potential to go fast. 

MOI: Presentation, Student Analysis.

Modes of Sailing

 

The different modes of sailing — displacement, planing and forced — are introduced. 

MOI: Presentation requiring student interaction.

Hull Speed

 

As a displacement sailboat hull pushes through the water, it is constantly displacing a new patch of water, creating waves at the bow and stern of the boat, which work to "trap" the hull and prevent it from going any faster. The concept of theoretical hull speed is discussed and the calculations used to determine hull speed are introduced. Also, students will explore why length is important to speed for displacement sailboats but not for planing sailboats. 

MOI: Presentation requiring student interaction, worksheets. 

Buoyancy

 

A boat floats so long as its total volume weighs less than the density of the water it is displacing. Students are introduced to the Archimedes Principle and the concepts of gravitational weight and upward buoyancy force, as a trigger to a discussion of density

MOI: Presentation requiring student interaction, videos. Optional classroom buoyancy demonstration.


Lesson 5b: Hull Speed and Buoyancy - Part 2

Speed

 

After reviewing previous lessons, students are introduced to how all of the concepts they have learned are used together to determine a boat's potential to go fast. 

MOI: Presentation, Student Analysis.

Modes of Sailing

 

The different modes of sailing — displacement, planing and forced — are introduced. 

MOI: Presentation requiring student interaction.

Hull Speed

 

As a displacement sailboat hull pushes through the water, it is constantly displacing a new patch of water, creating waves at the bow and stern of the boat, which work to "trap" the hull and prevent it from going any faster. The concept of theoretical hull speed is discussed and the calculations used to determine hull speed are introduced. Also, students will explore why length is important to speed for displacement sailboats but not for planing sailboats. 

MOI: Presentation requiring student interaction, worksheets. 

Buoyancy

 

A boat floats so long as its total volume weighs less than the density of the water it is displacing. Students are introduced to the Archimedes Principle and the concepts of gravitational weight and upward buoyancy force, as a trigger to a discussion of density

MOI: Presentation requiring student interaction, videos. Optional classroom buoyancy demonstration.


Lesson 6: Sailboat Workshop

The Engineering Design Process

 

Students are introduced to the process used by naval architects and marine engineers to imagine, develop, test and improve sailboat hull and sail designs. 

MOI: Presentation requiring student interaction.

Introduction to the Sail Car Kit

 

Having learned the basic principles of sailboat and sail design, students are now teamed together to design and build their own model sailboat on wheels.

MOI: Presentation and demonstration. Sail Car Kit


Lesson 7: Activity — Sailboat Design Project

Sail Loft Work Exercise

 

Students work to design and construct the sails for their Sail Cars.

MOI: Student activity with supervision and assistance, Google Sketch.

Race Day Testing

 

Using a fan for wind, students conduct timed races of their sail designs using their finished Sail Cars to see how their designs fare against each other. Design teams present their completed reports and discuss their designs and changes they would make after reviewing their test results. 

MOI: Student activity with supervision and assistance, student group report presentation and classroom discussion.

Optional Lesson: KidWind Project (Wind Turbines)

Wind Turbines are Sails  

 

Using the same concepts and design process learned earlier, students learn that wind turbines used to generate electricity utilitze the same physics and design principles used to design and build sails. They then engage in an activity to design the perfect wind turbine, using an online video that explains the concepts of wind turbines. 

KidWind Project (www.KidWind.org) – “Wind 101 Presentation” – concept, design, and use of wind turbines (49 min) https://vimeo.com/51537100

MOI: Video, student activity with supervision and assistance.

KidWind Turbine Construction

 

Students build their KidWind turbines and test performance. Optional enrollment in the RechargeLabs KidWind competition. 

Building the Perfect PVC Wind Turbine by KidWind.org http://www.instructables.com/id/Model-Wind-Turbine-KidWind-Project/

MOI: Student activity with supervision and assistance, student group report presentation and classroom discussion.

 


 
 
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