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Who Sank the Boat?
by Pamela Allen

Five friends decide to go for a row in the bay. One of them sinks the boat. Was it the cow, donkey, sheep, pig, or mouse?

Resources for Who Sank the Boat?:
Full Book Review (English)
Full Book Review (Spanish)
Brief Book Review (English)
Brief Book Review (Spanish)

Was it the sheep who knew where to sit to level the boat so that she could knit?    


Topics: weight, volume, buoyancy, comparisons, predicting  


Activities To Do Together: 

  • Experiment! Gather a group of objects that won’t be ruined if they get wet, for example, an apple, a paperclip, an egg, plastic and metal spoons, action figures, a cork, and a piece of wood. Find out what will float and what will sink by placing the objects in a bowl of water, the sink, or a bathtub.  

  • Ask your child to predict what will sink and what will float. Record these predictions. Put the items into the water one by one. Ask your child what they notice. Did the object float? Did it match their prediction? Make a list together with the name of the object and what happened to the object when it was placed in the water. 

  • Sort the objects you tested into piles. Make a group of floating objects and a group of sinking objects. What other ways can you sort the objects?

  • Drop a ball made of modeling clay into a bowl of water. Notice what happens. Challenge your child to find a way to make the clay float. If they aren’t successful at first, encourage them to keep trying.


Questions for Mathematical Thinking:

  1. How would you describe the five friends that went for a row in the bay? How are they alike? How are they different?

  2. The book says that the sheep knew where to sit to level the boat. What do you think this statement means? How would you know if the boat was level?

  3. What do you think the cow, donkey, pig, sheep, and mouse should do next time they go for a row so their boat does not sink?

  4. Look at the picture of cow, donkey, pig, and sheep sitting in the boat together. What do you notice? Why do you think that the boat sank when the tiny mouse jumped on board? 

  5. Who do you think sank the boat? Why do you think so? Do you think one animal did it all on its own?

Vocabulary for Building Math Concepts:  

all, balanced, before, beside, in, last, later, level, lightest, little, side, tiny, weight

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