Introduction - Task - Process - Resources - Evaluation - Teacher Help


Recently, the United States Navy has been

experiencing problems with several of the

submarines in their fleet. A new submarine

design model needs to be developed in

order to ensure the integrity of our country's

aquatic research programs.



The United States Government is currently looking to develop a new submarine design to add to their naval fleet. This submarine should function on the same principles as current submarines but needs to float and submerge at predictable times. You are a Naval Engineer and have been contacted by the United States Government to research current submarines as well as submarines that have been used in the past by the Navy. The government would like a written report containing the submarine's history, uses, operating principles, facts and technical terms.

Your report should also include the development of a new working model submarine. This design must be able to submerge and resurface at the specific parameters given by the Navy. The Government representatives will be in on April 24th, 2009 and expect your research project completed. An oral presentation of your research that will include a description of how your model submarine will function, accompanied by a demonstration of your model will be due on April 24th 2009. You will have a variety of sources including Mrs. Carraba, the librarian to use as resources. Be sure you keep track of any sources (books, encyclopedias, websites) that you gather information from for your bibliography.


Introduction - Task - Process - Resources - Evaluation - Teacher Help


You will be taking a three step approach to accomplishing this submarine project. You will begin by learning about submarines through library research. After gaining a solid knowledge base on submarines, including their functions and uses, you will be required to design and create your own working model submarine. The third and final step to this process will be to share your findings by demonstrating your working model submarine in the classroom.

Step 1: Library Research

Submarines were invented over 100 years ago and have had a tremendous impact on our world ever since. They have been used in scientific research, during wartime, and even commercially as tourist attractions. You are required to use a variety of resources to research the submarine and develop a well written report based on the outline below. You will also find a Submarine Research scoring rubric in the evaluation section to help guide you in your work.

Submarine Research Report

Required Topics


  • dates of first submarines
  • designers
  • where submarines were constructed and of what materials
  • labeled diagrams and pictures of first submarines

Uses of Submarines (Choose at least 2)

  • wartime
  • scientific
  • pleasure
  • industrial/construction
  • labeled diagrams and pictures of the submarines you discuss

Submarine Operation

  • density
  • submerging
  • resurfacing
  • steering;left, right, up, down
  • labeled diagrams and pictures

Glossary of Technical Terms

  • include a glossary of FIVE terms that you encounter as you research

Interesting Facts

Additional Requirements:

  • Cover page: name, date, title, illustration
  • Bibliography: at least 1 book, 1 encyclopedia, 1 website

Rough draft: staple to the end of your report


Links to Submarine Websites:

World Book Online

Grolier Online

Please ask Mrs. Carraba for passwords (you have to type

"submarine" in the search box.)

Step 2: Model Submarine Construction

You need to design and build an actual functioning submarine. It should be built from common materials found at home. Subs can not be toys or contain toy parts. The completed model submarine should perform as tested each time, as you will only have one chance to demonstrate it in class.


1) All submarines will be required to perform in a 10 gallon tank.

2) The submarine should float on the surface for 45 seconds, then sink to the bottom of the aquarium. It should remain on the bottom for 60 seconds and then return to the surface, where it should remain afloat for at least 30 seconds.

3) The submarine may consist of more than one part.

4) Part or parts of the model may break away from the submarine.

5) The water in the aquarium may be polluted.

6) No magnets or motors are permitted.

7) Any outside connections or physically touching of the submarine will result in a lower grade.

8) Any sub that floats, sinks, and resurfaces will receive a passing grade.

9) Before launching his/her submarine model, each student will briefly explain how the model will work. This explanation should include terms used to explain floating, sinking, buoyancy and density.
Shipbuilder's Blog

As you design and experiment with your model sub you are required to keep a blog that records your experiences. This will be done through Mr. Grover's website.

  • Dates for trial
  • Description of testing
  • Use of appropriate scientific vocabulary should be used in your explanations. (i.e. density, mass, volume, floating, subsurface floating, ballast, etc.)
  • Daily reactions to testing - How did you feel about the experiences? Were you excited, relieved, frustrated, confused?
  • Questions you have for Mr. Grover or other students about improving your model sub.

Step 3: Sea and Fitness Trials

You are required to bring your research report to school on April 24th, 2009. Ship Builder's Blog and model submarine are due on April 24th 2009. Begining on that date you will be required to present, explain, and demonstrate your model submarine to the class. See the Model Submarine Rubric below for scoring guidelines. Good Luck!

Introduction - Task - Process - Resources - Evaluation - Teacher Help



Submarine Research Report Rubric


Information is very organized with well constructed paragraphs and subheadings.

Information is organized with well-constructed paragraphs.

Information is organized, but paragraphs are not well-constructed.

The information is disorganized and hard to follow/comprehend

Quality of Information

Information clearly relates to each submarine subheading. It includes 3 or more supporting details or examples for each topic.

Information clearly relates to each submarine subheading. It provides 2 supporting details or examples. to support idea.

Information relates to each sub. Includes only 1 detail or example to support idea.

Information is not related to the submarine subheadings. Includes noo details or examples to support idea.


0-1 grammatical, spelling or punctuation errors.

2-3 grammatical, spelling or punctual errors.

4-5 grammatical, spelling, or punctuation errors.

More than 5 gramatical, spelling, or punctuation errors.

Diagrams and Illustrations

Submarine diagrams and illustrations are neat, accurate and add to the reader's understanding of the topic.

Submarine diagrams and illustrations are accurate and add to the reader's understanding of the topic.

Submarine diagrams and illustrations are neat and accurate and only 1-2 diagramsadd to the reader's understanding of the topic.

Diagrams and illustrations are inaccurate and/or do not add to the reader's understanding of the topic at all.


Model Submarine Demonstration Scoring Guide

Scoring Points

1) Submarine Performance (70points) See Floating/Sinking Scoring Key

2) Design and Concept (15 points)

3) Acuracy of Presentation (15 points)

Total Submarine Score 100 points

Floating/Sinking Scoring Key
  • Performed exactly on Time (70pts)
  • Performed within 5 seconds of each position (65 points)
  • Performed within 15 seconds of each position (60 points)
  • Performed but times were off by more than 15 seconds (55 points)
  • Student had outside connections, additions, or touched submarine during demonstration (5 point deduction)
  • Floated, sank, never resurfaced (45 points)
  • Floated, never sank, or never floated (25 points)
  • No Project (0 points)


By the time you reach the end of this project, your job as a naval engineer will be completed. Your research will have led to the development of a new submarine. You'll understand the concepts of mass, volume, density as they are related to the principle of buoyancy, while gaining knowledge of the submarine's history and uses along the way. Who knows, you now might even be in the mood to discover how these concepts apply to your body when you swim or scuba dive!