Paper boat
 Students create paper boats and talk about folding paper, famous boats and sea-battles, oceans, etc..

You will need:

  • For each student, a piece of paper (8.5"x11").
  • A variety of color pencils or crayons.
Suggested vocabulary:

paper  fold  unfold  middle  point  together  triangle  crease  turn over  corner  direction  opposite  end  middle  boat  name  sea  sail  water  sink


Click on the thumbnail image if you want to see a larger picture. Teachers who use a screen reader
should ignore the links to the larger images, as the screen reader will read the instructions in order.

1. Fold the paper from top to bottom, bringing together the two opposite ends.

2. Crease the folded end.

3. Fold the paper from side to side, bringing together the two opposite ends.

4. Crease the folded end.

5. Unfold the paper once, noting the middle crease.

6. Fold the top left tip so that it touches the middle crease.

7. Crease the diagonal end.

8. This is what you should have now.

9. Flip the paper over.

10. Fold the other tip so that it touches the middle crease, and crease the diagonal end.

11. Fold one bottom flap upwards.

12. Crease this folded end.

13. Flip the paper over.

14. Fold the other bottom flap upward and crease the folded end.

15. Insert both thumbs into the middle of the folded paper and pull outward.

16. If necessary, tuck in the edges of the flaps.

17. Crease all folds. You should have a folded rhombus.

18. Holding the rhombus with the open side down, lift one bottom flap and make it touch the tip.

19. Crease the folded end.

20. Turn the rhombus over.

21. Lift the other bottom flap, making it touch the tip, and crease the fold.

22. You should now have a folded triangle.

23. Insert both thumbs into the middle of the folded triangle, and pull outward all the way.

24. Crease all folds. You now have a rhombus.

25. Hold the two outer tips with your thumbs and index fingers.

26. Pull the two tips outward all the way.

27. When you have pulled the tips all the way, flatten the paper.

28. Crease all folds. This is what you should have.

29. Turn the boat upside down. Holding your fingers inside the boat, pull the sides out a little bit to make a wider base.

30. Now check that the boat can stand on a flat surface. If it does not, try to widen the base some more.

31. Decorate and name your boat. Discuss famous boats and sea battles.

  Suggested links for additional ideas:
  • Maverick's Paper Boats
    Instructions for simple paper boats. By varying the size of the circles, you can make a variety of different boats.

  • Ken's Paper Boat Page
    Ken devotes his page to the full-size paper boats people could ride around in during the second half of the 19th century (racing shells, canoes and row boats). He provides links to excellent information on the history of paper boats, selected articles from a newspaper quarterly, "The Paper Boater," illustrated instructions on how to make a boat by folding a piece of paper, and more.

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