In the seventies or early eighties, there was a book on making furniture and play structures for children using corrugated cardboard, primarily used liquor bottle crates. BOAT BUILDING (L to R) Seventh graders Parker Waters, Addy Sykes, Audrey Martin and Swiler Boyd sketch the dimensions of their boat in order to assemble their canoe. The newest Middle School science elective, Boat Making, entered its second year at the start of the spring semester. Last May, Middle School students climbed into their cardboard, duct-taped canoes in teams of two, not knowing whether or not their boat was going to float or sink, ready to paddle across the Hockaday Residence Pool, the culminating last challenge of their semester-long boat-making elective.
Cagle drew her inspira­tion from a freshman college engineering assignment that required her to build and race cardboard boats against other schools and other engineers.
Different from other elec­tives, students did not receive a lot of instruction on how to build their boats, except for a few classes spent researching different boat models. The course required a more hands on learning en­vironment than a traditional classroom setup. The elective requires teams of students to collabo­rate on ideas, research differ­ent boat models and problem solve to achieve their goals.


During the canoe races, the students exercised their problem-solving skills by re­acting to the changing condi­tions of their canoes. Since physics is a required Upper School science course, “they can probably learn from the Upper Schoolers’ experi­ence in that way,” Cagle said. Electronics Club is a student run organization for anyone who has an interest in technology, engineering, electronics, and RC cars.
Congratulations to Conant’s Engineering Club for their achievements at the Square One Education Innovative Vehicle Design Challenge, building a car from scratch.
Conant junior, Becca Storey (on right) helps show studentshow the mousetrap powers the car. Students Shlock, Gabe, Becca, Allie and Catie demonstrate how the mousetrap competition vehicles work.
Headed by seventh grade sci­ence teacher Peggy Cagle, the program incorporates engi­neering skills and competition to build a fast, impermeable, cardboard canoe.
It worked a little bit, but by the end all the boats were half collapsed,” said eighth grader Mira Mehta who was one of the guinea pigs of the pilot course.


The task is to construct a cardboard, duct tape and waterproof canoe big enough for two people and buoyant enough so students can paddle down and back the length of the residence pool. Students work on a variety of projects and challenges such as bridge building, cardboard boat designs and electronic circuits. High to inspire the next generation of engineers by showing them the school’s electric car and hosting a mousetrap car competition. The use of cardboard added to the chal­lenge because the girls needed to figure out a way to prevent the material from becoming saturated with water.



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