Students put handmade boats to test

Alex Di Pietro
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Students from 13 schools took to Carlton Comprehensive High School for the annual boat building and race event on Thursday.

Members of boat 1 from John Diefenbaker Elementary School hang on during the durability event at the annual boat building and race competition on Thursday at Carlton Comprehensive High School. The team claimed bronze on the day.

Each school was limited to entering two teams to allow for as many schools to participate as possible. The majority of the 104 students who participated are in Grade 8, with some participants in Grade 7.

The students built their boats in the school’s electrical shop before taking to Frank J. Dunn Pool. They were supplied with limited materials, including a tiny roll of duct tape, two four-by-eight sheets of Coroplast sign board, an exacto knife, a small roll of packing tape, some string, a pencil and a paper clip.

Brian Linn, school and work co-ordinator and career coach with Sask. Rivers Public School Divison, said the event provides a hands-on opportunity for students and that some take it pretty seriously.

“Some schools even have run-offs and they’ll build scale models and float them in a bathtub. Some will even build a full-size boat,” he said of the participants’ preparation. “The information went out at the end of September, so some of the schools have been preparing for quite some time.”

The event consisted of both a race and endurance test. Linn said it only took about a week for all 26 of the entry spots to be filled and noted the event’s popularity for being fun as well as educational.

“Some schools tie it in with their practical and applied arts teacher,” he said.  “A lot of schools, it’s the home room teacher, the science teacher bringing them in, because then they’re using it as a moment, talking about things like displacement, design and the scientific experiment of trial and error. It varies. It meets a lot of curriculum outcomes.”

Students were responsible for the boat’s design, which was part of the criteria they were graded on. A team from Birch Hills School finished with a final grade of 49/50, the best on the day.

The team was repaid for its days of preparation by scoring perfectly in every category except for sketch innovation and following its sketch.

“First off, the boat was meant for speed, but we were also thinking about how sturdy it would be,” team member Patrick Nelson said. “We came up with the size and the tipped front, so that it would kind of even out, and when you’re in the water, it would be more of a platform.

“Visualizing is a big part of learning,” he continued. “If you can actually do something as opposed to writing it down or learn how the physics work behind it, it helps out a lot.”

Organizations: Rivers Public School Divison, Birch Hills School

Geographic location: Sask.

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