In the Down East region, boatbuilding brings heritage and STEM courses to life. Seventh graders are building a traditional flat-bottom skiff at Down East Middle School, as part of Project Lead the Way, a program that focuses on science, technology, engineering, and math.
Boatbuilder Heber Guthrie of Gloucester and Project Lead the Way instructor Richard Coffey have guided the students as they designed and worked on the boat since September. The goal is to finish the boat in the spring so that it can be entered in the National Boatbuilding Challenge in May, during the Wooden Boat Show in Beaufort. After the show, the school PTO will raffle the boat off, with the proceeds benefiting the school
“This is real world application of design principles the students have studied,” Mr. Coffey said. “They’ve utilized measuring skills, learned the use of hand tools and made a computer model become a reality.”
Students listened to Mr. Guthrie give a design lecture, and then used 3D modelling software.
“This project gives them a chance to see what wood does and how to bend it into shape,” Mr. Guthrie said. “They get to use math a lot. Building a wooden boat is about 10 percent by eye, but you have to learn and use a lot of math to make it a reality.”