Its not a typical summer school assignment, but these middle school students are building a sailboat to learn math. It’s fun, and the concepts they are learning and putting into practice are having an impact.
Two teachers from Hamden Middle School in Connecticut teamed up to teach the eighth graders math and science skills by building a sailboat at a local country club. Andrew Marzano, who teaches eighth grade science, and Frank Kachmar, a technology teacher,brought the idea to middle school which resulted in eighth graders setting sail on a pond at the Hamden Paradise Country Club. with two 12 foot skiffs.
Marzano said he wanted to bring the idea to the middle school after watching people build wooden boats at Mystic Seaport.
“It really incorporates math, science, history and English,” Marzano said.
The three-week program caters to students who face challenges with math and science, teaching them about angles, measurements and adding and subtracting fractions.
“These students work better with their hands, rather than a pencil and notebook,” Marzano said.
While students may not initially understand the benefits to constructing firsthand, Marzano said that, once the end result is pieced together, the excitement builds.
“They start to see it’s not just a hammer and nails, but that it’s actually something functional,” Marzano said.
Student Michael Cox said building the sailboats was a great experience.
“I loved doing it. We had to learn about how to correctly measure the boats and its seats or they’d be too big,” Michael said.
While Michael enjoyed the building process, he said the trade is something he’d only be interested in as a hobby.
Other students who helped build the boats included Ethan Dileone, Elijah Garcia, James Flores and Brendan Randall.
Kachmar said the students participated in every part of the process from reading the construction plans to hammering and sanding the boat.