Participants in the first Upper School engineering class boat race took to the water in the GPS pool on Monday and two of the four survived the competition down and back. As a crowd of onlookers cheered from the pool balcony, the black “Cannonball of Death” was the first craft to reach the finish line. Senior “oarsman” McLean Miller lunged to touch the poolside just seconds ahead of a competing boat.
All of the teams have been working on their boats for several weeks, using sheets of cardboard, reinforced tape, and Liquid Nails to secure the shells or canoes they decided to design and construct. After a coating of latex paint and the addition of a nickname, the boats were ready for their first "voyage."
A pink boat looked like a pontoon, but its center proved too fragile for the water test. A yellow boat with stabilizing side projections was also finished after the first length. Two fairly simple designs, the winning craft and a blue canoe-like one, were the only two that finished the race.
The engineering class, “Design and Application,” attracted a variety of grade levels and interests in its first year to be offered as an elective. One goal of the class, according to co-teachers Jill Pala and Kristi Bryson, is “to provide tools and materials for student exploration and problem solving in interdisciplinary, hands-on projects.” The boat race was a great example of the students’ initiative and problem-solving skills.