Student interest in science, technology, engineering and math spiked when a STEM club raced a cardboard boat.

Soft SkillsThe STEM based class at Carlin High School engaged the attention of the 16 enrolled students this year by having students create hands on projects.  The first endeavor was a boat for two built out of cardboard, a roll of duct tape, and capable of racing 25 meters in a pool.

“The idea for a cardboard boat race originally stemmed from a leadership activity I completed in high school,” said STEM and science seminar teacher Melissa Jones. “During my junior and senior years I was involved in a leadership class, in which the end of the year project was a cardboard boat float. The teamwork that I learned from competing in the event was invaluable.”

Students chose four team members, and had lessons that covered the science of boats.  They learned about buoyancy, density, center of gravity, hull shape, and teamwork. The race started out as a friendly one between the different groups, but then the students learned that their teachers had built their own boat in secret.

The race was held at the Elko Swimming Pool.  “We are very lucky to live in a community that supports the education of our students. Without the Elko Swimming Pool facilities, this project would have never been possible,” said Jones. “It was amazing to see the students’ teamwork, pride, and enthusiasm during the cardboard boat race, but what I found the most inspiring was their sportsmanship. The students immediately congratulated each other following the race.”

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