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- Sink or swim: 120 Rutland students put their physics skills to the test
Cardboard may not seem like the best material for boat building,
but you might be surprised what local high school students can
achieve with the right knowledge. Physics students from Rutland
High School competed in the 4th annual Cardboard Boat Regatta this
past Monday. The races took place at Combination Pond behind the
school and despite the warm air temperature; most skippers would
soon find out that the water was still pretty cold.
Physics instructor Chad Hodgkins says his students use principles
they have been learning all year to formulate a plan and hopefully
build a vessel that floats. "These students are applying scientific
methods and having fun. It is all about teamwork, competition, and
getting outside to enjoy ourselves as the school year finishes. A
lot of hard work went into these projects," Hodgkins explains.
Student creativity was on display amongst the colorful and
varied cardboard boats. Some were clearly aiming for the "best
sinking" prize, while others were built for speed. About 120
students, made up of groups of four entered almost 30 boats. There
were five boats in each of the six heats with the winners of each
meeting to compete in the final race.
The group was made up of mostly seniors celebrating the near end of
their high school careers. The students had a grand time watching
each others' designs succeed or capsize in a splashing, laughing,
Chad Hodgkins has seen his group of racers and spectators grow
every year and this time he had a record number of students,
teachers and parents in attendance. "It is great for the community
to come and see how these students are learning and applying
knowledge," he says.
Considering the fact that the boats were all made of only
cardboard, glue, tape and sealant, quite a few were seaworthy and
made it through the course in a respectable amount of time. The
winning boat was called Minnow II, giving a nod to the S.S. Minnow
from Gilligans Island. The boat and its captains, John Colomb, Cody
Weatherby, Stevie Bartenstein and Alex Jarrosak, completed the
course twice without capsizing or taking on water.
Their design resembled a cross between a sit on top kayak and a
rowboat. The amount of time and effort that is required for a
successful project like this was eye-opening, reflected the winners
of this year's Cardboard Boat Regatta.