Save Fred!

It’s a classic: Save Fred! Fred, this poor gummy worm, is stranded on the top of his overturned boat (the plastic cup) in the middle of Lake Erie! He can’t swim and needs to somehow get himself into the life preserver (the lifesaver), which is currently underneath the boat. Without touching Fred, the boat, or the life preserver, how can you and your partner save Fred using only 4 paper clips? You may not touch Fred, the boat, or the life preserver directly with your hands, only with the paper clips.

To help my students learn the importance of working together in cooperative groups they participated in the “Save Fred” hands-on learning experience….My students very quickly learned the importance of clear communication and cooperation, and had a fun time all the while! This classic science lab provides both the opportunity to review of the scientific method and social-emotional skills of communication and cooperation.

The Purdue Extension Service additionally provides a worksheet for the Save Fred! Activity, available at this link:


Stephanie Wojtowicz received her bachelor’s degree in Elementary Education as well as her master’s degree in Reading from Baldwin-Wallace College. She has been trained by the Ohio Department of Education as a teacher mentor for teachers who are new to the CMSD. She loves teaching and strives to connect her students to the world around them. Stephanie actively participates in a variety of school committees. She has been teaching in Cleveland for more than 20 years. Outside of the classroom, Stephanie enjoys spending time with her family, reading and traveling.