Triremes “How to Build Your Vessel”

Please refer to the Triremes Hands-On-Activity Power Point found here

Hands-on Activity PDF includes:

Download PDF

Materials Needed

  • Create student teams (2-3 students in a team, or whatever works best for your classroom.)
  • Foam core board or tin foil (for building the vessel) enough for each team of students. Should you decide to use foam core, each team should be given a 10”x10” sheet of foam core to work with. Please check with your art department to see if they have any scraps!
  • X-acto knives to cut foam core, safety gloves, and safety glasses*, one for each student team.
  • Tape to hold the vessel together (electrical or duct tape), enough for each student team to work with while creating their boats. Teams should use the same “type” of tape, as the type of tape used could affect the weight of the boat.
  • 1 paper clip for each team to attach to the end of their boats. (This paper clip can signify the ram of the triremes).
  • Optional Pulley – (The paper clip, may also be used if you decide to create a pulley system to test the boat’s speed. Please review the Triremes pilot video to get a sense of how a pulley system may be created. Your school’s technology department may be able to assist with this type of pulley system or with some other form of pulley system that they may create for you to test the students’ boats’ speed.
    • The pulley system that was used in the pilot video included: a “cut in half” PVC pipe, which was filled with water and secured on desks, with a pulley system on one end. The pulley system at the end of the secured PVC pipe, used 4 X 4’s for height, fishing wire, 2 indented rollers that the fishing wire wrapped around and moved. One indented roller was located up high on the 4×4, the other one was level with the PVC pipe, a weight was used on one end of the wire to keep it weighted to the ground and a paper clip was attached to the end of the fishing wire, which would then connect to the paper clip attached to the students’ boat. (See above.)
    • Check with your school’s tech department or with an engineering class to work with you to create a pulley system to test the students’ boat for speed. Speed was an important component to the Trireme. If you are able to get such a pulley system designed, be sure that when each boat is tested for speed, that some weight is placed in it, IE. pennies, and that each boat has the exact same amount of weight. This will keep all boats on the same playing field when determining which boat is the fastest, and it will also show how speed is not only affected by the boat design itself, but also by the amount of weight it can withstand.
  • Weights to test the vessels (pennies or fishing weights work well) Number needed will depend on each specific boat design. Two handfuls of pennies should be enough.
  • Bucket filled with water to test how much weight each boat will hold before it sinks. (A bus tub would work well.) This is your “testing tank.”
  • Optional: Pulley with fishing wire. (See notes above.)

Download the PDF for all instructions.

When engaging in the IEEE REACH hands-on activities contemplated in the IEEE REACH lesson plans please proceed with caution and use all reasonable safety measures. All IEEE REACH hands-on activities are designed for classroom use only, with supervision by a teacher or an adult educator. Please be advised that IEEE shall not be responsible for any injuries or damages related to the use of these lesson plans or any activities described herein.