Natatorium offers Physics students a chance ‘to float their boats’

Not often does anyone at the FISD Natatorium see boats embarking on pool waters but that was exactly what was happening Monday, March 3 when Physics teacher Don McGowan  had his students test the Archimedes’ Principle.

This was the first Physics cardboard boat races at the Natatorium. Alexandra Bahadori and McGowan’s classes were trying out a project.

The group assignment was to apply Archimedes Principle to their group’s boat and to determine how large a boat was needed to allow two students to climb in and row across the pool in their cardboard boat using their two oars.

Students were limited to two layers of less than 1/2 inch cardboard and they could only tape at the seams with clear non-fibourous packing tape.  Boats bases had to be less than 7 ft by 3ft.

Archimedes’ Principle is that if the weight of the water the boat is displacing is greater than the weight of the boat and riders it should not sink.  Students did pre and post calculations and a report out on the Physics involved and the design successes and pitfalls.

“It was an great opportunity for our students to work in an on-traditional classroom setting and do some real project based learning,”McGowan said.

Not only did students make their boats distinctive but also dressed the part. Several tee shirt designs adorned boat captains as well as a Titanic couple and some clever puns on shirts.

In the event, 36 boats competed in 9 different heats.

First place was awarded to Nicole Bluth, Emelie Nelson, Brenna Swientoniski and Cassidy Weeks. Second place was awarded to Sean Jankowski, Logan Miller, Edward Pettit, and Jillian Bizarro. Third place winners are Blake Davis, Evan Roper, Joshua Lambert and Collin Rountree.

Fourth place was awarded to Katherine Harclerode, Kaytlyn Vavrecka, Trent Weatherley, and Sean White. Fifth place winners include Nikita Gupta, Bishop Lopez, Ashley Hayden, and Cameron Roberts.