My friend and I are leading a homeschool teen literature discussion group (Real Teens Read,) and we just wrapped up The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn. We meet once a month for a book discussion and once a month for a field trip or movie related to the book of the month. This month, we will be watching the 1939 movie version starring a very young Mickey Rooney. At our discussion meeting this week, I wanted the teens to work together to build a raft using sticks and string (no glue allowed.) We had talked about how Huck and Jim forged a friendship while on their journey and how they had to work together on the raft to maneuver along the Mississippi River. Mark Twain uses the river as a symbol for freedom and transformation, and Huck and Jim find that nature provided them safety and harmony, while "civilized" society was often less than civilized.
The teens had to lay out sticks until they had an arrangement that was pretty straight, and then they had to figure out that they needed two longer sticks going across the bottom to elevate the platform out of the water. They also had to wrap the string and tie it so everything would hold together. This activity ended up keeping them busy for almost half an hour.
Of course, we had to test them out to see if they would float.