Middle School boat race makes a splash

 The eighth-grade annual sailboat race is a single-elimination spectacle of one-of-a-kind crafts made of popsicle sticks, styrofoam, aluminum foil, masking tape, straws, dowels, milk cartons, paper, plastic, and more.

It's hands-on fun that puts what children have been learning about buoyancy and water displacement, the scientific principles of force and motion, as well as engineering design, into practice.

“The students build their sailboats at home after making observations and taking notes on the performance of prior year's boats,” said Patricia O’Gorman, eighth grade science teacher. 

The race itself--a three-meter, calm-water course with a guaranteed steady breeze—takes place in the back of the eighth-grade science classrooms where two parallel gutters have been filled with four centimeters of water, capped by a household fan at one end. Each boat is given one candy as cargo—the boat must be able to carry this mass without sinking, and the weight and the forces acting upon the boat must be evenly distributed so it doesn’t capsize.

Winners from each of the five Physical Science sections advanced to the grade level finals which took place during lunch. Tristan Taranto from Mrs. Riordan’s class was the champion this year!

Some of the Racers

Scenes from the Race