How Does A Sailboat Actually Work?

How does a sailboat go both with and against the wind? The Vertasium video surveys people on this question. After asking many people to explain the way a sailboat works, finally a sailor answers. This allows for discussion of lift and air flow.

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CCSS: Adaptable
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Instructional Ideas
  • Build model sailboats and experiment with wind
  • Research the actual way a sailboat works
Classroom Considerations
  • Assumes prior observations of sailboats, which some scholars may not have
  • Demonstrates the many misconceptions people have about sailboats
  • Scientific explanation isn't accurate; it was accepted for many years but has been proven incorrect
Common Core