Thursday, June 16, 2016

2016 Boat Regatta

The Paris High School Boat Regatta was in full force this year.  With 18 students, Mrs. Block's AP Chemistry class took to the lake to sail their cardboard and duct tape fleet.  "At the end of the year, the Seniors start to slow down once their tests are done and graduation approaches.   I needed something to do with them to keep them engaged and the boat race got their competitive juices flowing again!"   They receive cardboard (compliments of Cargill) and a roll of duct tape to build their vessel - some designed it to hold two or three people, while some had a single captain.   At the old high school, Block's students sailed their boats at the YMCA pool.  When the pool closed, the boat races stopped for a while.  "My daughter was in AP Chemistry last year and wanted the regatta revived so we found a spot on the lake that had a dock and it was perfect - and cold!  Students inevitably sink and this time of year it is a brisk encounter with Twin Lakes!"  This year the weather was not cooperating, but the students sailed on in the rain and made the most of it - even taking a group swim at the end of the races.  The project not only involves revisiting science phenomena such as bouyancy, center of gravity, lots of math, the Archimedes principle, and the scientific method - it also is used frequently in team building and leadership seminars because of all the problems that arise and must be dealt with using modification strategies and communication with others.  Mrs. Block would like to thank Cargill for the donation of cardboard and the City for cleaning up the wet cardboard that is left by the dumpster.  "Everyone is so supportive of this project and it is a great learning experience!  Students constantly modify their boats as they scale up their original models and try to find a surface area to mass ratio that will hold them once they get in their final boat design.  Many boat designs fold in like a burrito or simply rip out when they get weight in them so it is fun to see how each design holds up to an actual sailor or two."