In this activity we will design a canoe that is right size for six paddlers. Then we will 3D print and build a small model of the canoe. Later, we will build a sail and race the canoes.

Note that we will be using metric units for this activity. The numbers and units actually come out a lot nicer with the Metric System as opposed to the US Customary System. This is one reason why most of the world uses metric and all scientific research uses metric.

Measurement Metric Unit US Customary Unit
Length Meter (m) Feet (ft)
Speed Meters per second (m/s) Feet per second (ft/s)
Acceleration Meters per second squared (\(m/s^2\)) Feet per second squared (\(ft/s^2\))
Mass Kilogram (kg) Pound (lb) – sometimes
Weight Newton (N) Pound (lb) – sometimes

Side note about weight and mass:
Force is measured in Newton(s). Force is also mass times acceleration; \(1 Newton = 1 kg \times m/s^2\) If the acceleration comes from gravity, we call this force “weight.” In US Customary units, mass and weight are the same. But in reality they’re actually very different. Mass measures “how much stuff is in something” and weight measures “how hard stuff pushes down.” For example, cars are made up of a lot of stuff like metal, rubber, and gasoline, so it has a lot of mass. It is very difficult to pick up a car so it also has a lot of weight. Now imagine the same car on the moon. This car is still made up of all the same stuff, but it is now very light since there is little gravity. So on the moon, the mass is the same, but the weight is almost gone. For most objects, its weight may come and go, but its mass stays the same.

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