Rafting: Fluid Dynamics

Fluid Dynamics? Yes, Paddling a Raft is a hands-on fluid dynamics project.

Students at Wydown middle school canoe during a hands on lesson in the principals of fluid dynamics at Forest Park.

Now this is what science is all about.

The kids in the photo are paddling their their homemade raft, which was a science project about fluid dynamics. For more specifics about their project, see Fluid Dynamics.

Student:  Science Fair Idea!

I recently received a question about fluid dynamics. Note that I identified the category- fluid dynamics. This is one way that I help when kids ask questions about science fair projects.

I want to build a raft with straws and craft sticks with a propeller. My experiment will be to test how fast it moves in liquids, such as clear water, oily water, and water with bubbles.

I am not sure what the science behind my idea is.


1. Movement through a fluid falls into the science of fluid dynamics.

fluid: A substance that can flow. Gases and liquids can flow, thus water is a fluid.

dynamic: (1) Something or someone who is forceful; energetic; changing. My website is dynamic, meaning it is always changing. (2) In reference to physics, dynamic has to do with the forces causing motion.

2. How are the fluids different? Will this difference affect the movement of materials through it? Viscosity is one possible variable that might affect movement through a fluid. What are other variables?

viscosity: This is the measure of how easily a fluid flows. Honey is more viscous than water.

3. The following link has different ideas for fluid dynamic projects.


Fluid dynamics is a physics topic. Even elementary kids can learn about physics.

Physics investigations for middle school and/or high school students. Ideas for developing investigations into a science fair project.


Educational Innovations Fluid Dynamics Bubble Tubes : Three tubes with three different fluid viscosities.

Perfect for teaching the concepts of precision, accuracy, graphing, slopes, uncertainty and extrapolation. Great beginning of school activity for science students of all ages.

The Bubble Tubes are just one example of fluid dynamic materials that are available at Educational Innovations.

Great for exploratory investigations about fluid dynamics.

OOPS!! These tubes are expensive. But maybe they can be added to your science supply list. Do put them on your wish list. Maybe they will go on sale. I love sales.