Pirate Ships and Wind Power

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Pirate Ships and Wind Power

Hoist the mainsail! Captain Seasalt and the ABC Pirates sail their ship using the power of the wind. Here’s how you can make your own pirate ship that works the same way.

Pirate Ships and Wind Power Supplies

What you need:

  • Twelve corks of the same size
  • Popsicle stick
  • Hot glue gun
  • Print this template for paper version
    (or use fun foam for a more durable version)
  • Scissors
  • Permanent markers to decorate (optional)
  • Bathtub
Pirate ship corks

With an adult’s help, use the glue gun to glue three corks together in a row. Then do the same with another three, then another, and then another, until you have four rows of corks. Cork floats really well, so that’s what we’ll use to make the main part of the ship.

Lay one of the cork rows flat on the table. Put a dab of hot glue close to the end of the popsicle stick and glue it to the middle cork, sticking straight up. This popsicle stick will be your mast.

Pirate Ships and Wind Power

Use the glue gun to glue another cork row in place alongside that one, on the other side of the popsicle stick mast.

Then glue on the last two cork rows, one on each side. You’ll end up with a rectangular ship, three corks long and four corks wide, with a mast in the middle.

Fill the bathtub with water and float your pirate ship in it. Try blowing on it. What happens? Probably not much.

Pirate Ships and Wind Power preparation

Now, print out the sail template on a piece of paper and cut it out. Don’t forget the two slits! Alternatively, cut a rectangle shape out of a sheet of fun foam 5” tall by 7” wide. Cut 2 slits the width of the popsicle stick ½” down from the top and up ½” from the center bottom.

If you like decorate the sail by drawing on it with permanent markers. Stick your popsicle stick mast in through one of the slits and out through the other, so that it looks like this. Be careful not to get your sail wet.

Pirate Ships and Wind Power

Now, put your ship on the water and try blowing on it again. What happens this time?

Air is invisible, but it’s all around us, and it’s what we breathe. Wind is the movement of air across the surface of the earth. The wind can be very strong sometimes, and sailing ships are just one way that people use the wind’s energy.

People also build wind turbines, which use the wind to produce electricity. And people build windmills, which use the wind to grind grain into flour, or to pump water. Wind can also be used to fly kites!

It’s not just people who use the power of the wind. Many plants, like dandelions, depend on the wind to spread their seeds around.

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Grant HardingContributor
Grant Harding is a puppeteer with a degree in biology and a passion for education and the environment. Follow Grant on Twitter, or check out his website.


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