Build Your Own Paddle Boat


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  800 Fort Negley Blvd., Nashville, TN 37203

 Open daily from 9 a.m. - 5 p.m. and until 9 p.m. every second Saturday of the month.
Closed on February 29, September 9-10, Thanksgiving Day, Christmas Eve, Christmas Day

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DIY Science

Rainy day blues? Summertime slump? Cabin fever?

Don’t worry… we’ve got you covered!

Adventure Science Center is proud to offer DIY Science lessons and experiments the whole family can enjoy! Each lesson provides instruction, a materials list, and ideas for activities to get hands-on with science, including sample questions to get those gears turning. Check back for more lessons!

BUILD YOUR OWN PADDLE BOAT by Anna Goolsby, Marketing Assistant

Full STEAM ahead! Add some splishy-splashy playtime to your learning with this fun and simple DIY engineering activity. Learn now to design and build your very own paddle boat just like an engineer using objects and tools found around your home. This is a great project to do either outside in an inflatable pool or inside in your bathtub! No matter the weather, you can have fun making waves and learning more about engineering!

Want to experience more engineering fun? Join us the week of Feb. 19 for Engineers Week - a week full of hands-on activities and exciting demonstrations that celebrate the power of engineering. 


  • Plastic Water or Pop Bottle
  • 2 Wooden Chopsticks
  • Plastic Milk Jug
  • Scissors
  • Duct Tape
  • Rubber Band (thicker is better)
  • Ruler
  • Pencil
  • Packing Tape
  • Inflatable Pool or Bathtub


Use the photo from Coffee Cups and Crayons for reference!

Cut out four (4) rectangular pieces of the plastic milk jug that are two (2) inches by three (3) inches. Use your ruler to measure and your pencil to mark the outline of your pieces before cutting with your scissors to make sure they are even and straight. (Remember: Measure twice, cut once!) After you are done cutting, you can erase whatever marks are left from your pencil. Fold each piece in half so they make an "L" shape. Use thin strips of duct tape to tape each angle to one another, creating a cross shape. Set aside.

Using packing tape, attach your chopsticks to either side of your plastic bottle, letting half of the chopstick hang off the back of the bottle. When you are satisfied with your placement, use your duct tape to secure the chopsticks and bottle. Take your rubber band and fit it over the ends of your chopsticks, making sure it fits and isn't too stretched or loose. Finally, take your cross shape and slide two of the "blades" through the rubber band, creating your paddle. Twist the paddle away from your new boat and watch as it scuttles over the water in your pool or bathtub!

Further Exploration:

  • What happens if you twist the paddle toward the boat?
  • Does it make a difference if you move the rubber band and paddle closer to the boat? Further away?
  • What makes the water move away from the paddle as it turns? 
  • What happens if you twist the paddle more? Less?
Posted by Anna Leigh Goolsby at 5:00 PM
800 Fort Negley Blvd. Nashville, TN 37203
Hours: 9 a.m. - 5 p.m.
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