Fifth grade students discovered that building a boat launches math skills. At Mitchell Neilson Schools in Murfreesboro, Matt Clarady’s students launched their summer by launching a special boat.

Building a Boat Launches Math Skills“We’re out here test floating a boat we built in class this year to teach different math skills,” said Clarady, a math and science teacher.

For the past six months, the students have been using their math skills to build a boat in class.  When they launched it at the Stones River Greeenway, family members and Murfreesboro City Schools staff were there to cheer them on.

The students built an 11 1/2 foot skiff rowboat using hand tools.

“We didn’t use any power tools in the classroom,” Clarady said. “We had to hand saw all the cuts. We glued it all together using screws and nails to get the boat put together. I had to take it home and do a little bit of work, but most of it was done in the classroom with the kids.”

This was a hands on way for Clarady to reinforce practical math skills as the students used a lot of math to make the boat.

“It helped with measuring and helped with shapes,” said student Kahlen Walker.

“As we were building it, I used it to teach adding and subtracting, decimals and fractions and geometric shapes. Anything we could use to apply the math process, we did,” Clarady said.

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