Pirates Week 1 & 2: Explore! Build!

Week 1: Explore!

Arrrhh Maties! September be the month of Talk Like a Pirate Day! That be good enough reason for me to celebrate! 

Who doesn’t love Pirates? At least the modern playful version of them. It seemed like the perfect theme to start my venture into S.T.E.A.M. Programming.

For our Explore week, we focused on Water Science (since Pirates sail on the open seas). We had 4 stations, with 4 different activities. 

Station 1: Walk the Plank!

This one was so much fun! I found these free printables, and I was lucky enough to already have a low wooden balance beam, though you could absolutely just tape them to the floor. If I were to do it again I would do a better job at taping them down, because they did start to come up after a few kids. 

To help with the skip counting I made up my own words to the tune of “Yo Ho, Yo Ho a Pirates Life for Me”

“Yo Ho, Yo Ho a pirate’s life for me.
It’s 10 and 20 and 30, 40
50, 60 and 70.
It’s 80 and 90, 100, 110,
120 Hearties Yo, Ho!
Yo Ho, Yo Ho a pirate’s life for me.” 

Station 2: Buoyancy

We did this activity pretty similarly to what it states in the link above. I asked the kids whether or not they thought the orange would float, then we put it in the water. I used 8 oz. clear plastic cups, and clementine oranges. I then asked the kids what they thought would happen after I peeled the orange and we tested it again. 

The kids loved seeing the orange float and then sink. We talked about the science or water distribution and air in the peel. They liked this one. Bonus, it made the room smell fantastic. 🙂

Station 3: Water Density

This actually worked out better than I would have guessed. We had little 3 oz. clear plastic cups. I gave each kid 3 cups with the same amount of water in each. We left 1 as our control with only water in it. For the other 2 cups we added about 2 Tbs. of Salt to one, and 2 Tbs. of Sugar to the other. I gave each kid a craft stick for each cup, and had them stir until they couldn’t see much grit anymore. 

Once the additives were all dissolved I had the kids guess which, if any, would make the pirate jewels float. 

These are the jewels we used. (I get nothing for sharing this link, it’s just for information purposes) 


Station 4: Water Droplet Races!

This was by far the biggest hit of the night. It was also the cheapest, and the easiest. 

I drew a line down the middle of a sheet of wax paper, and a perpendicular line near the top and bottom for the start and finish. We had little pipettes, a bag of new straws, and a small cup of water. We talked a little bit about surface tension and how water droplets stayed together. I would put a droplet for each racer at the start line, and they raced their droplets from one end to the other. 

If I were to do this activity again, I would have a slimmer table so that kids could walk up the side of it as they were blowing on their droplets. If that weren’t an option, I might consider moving this activity to the floor. 


We had about 15 people attend our first night. Not a huge turnout, but much bigger than we were getting for storytime. Everyone seemed to have fun, and I enjoyed seeing their faces as the science and the fun clicked together. They were learning and having a blast. What more could one ask for.

Week 2: Build

Lego night! This is the easiest S.T.E.A.M. night of the month. I pull out the box of Leogs, divide them into trays for each table, and let the activity run itself. I often pull out our soft foam blocks for the littles who might otherwise choke on the little Legos (and they get played with by as many big kids, as small). We had some great creativity and fun. 28 people showed up for our first Lego night!

Full S.T.E.A.M. Ahead!

Mel the Librarian

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