Outdoor education builds boats to stay afloat

Lucas Barr and Logan Garms

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Building and testing their own cardboard boats at Bruce Eubanks Natatorium on Thursday, outdoor education students collaborated with their peers as they learn about boating safety and what makes a secure boat.

“The things I tell the students is number one, make sure you cover all the seams,” teacher Justin Koons said. “You can’t just tape it closed and expect water, not to get in and seep into the seams. The second thing is they have to pay attention to how tall or low the walls are. The last thing is making sure they distribute their weight equally. Too many times I see people lean back too far and their weights back and the boat tips backwards or too far forward so they gotta pay attention to their own body and where they’re distributing the weight.”

Collaboration and planning were key to designing a boat that wouldn’t sink.

“In my 3B class I had a group that had a really good boat,” Koons said. “They discussed to me about how they had come up with a formula on what would be best to distribute weight in both size and length, it actually looked like an arrow. Not only that, it was big and wide enough to where it wouldn’t buckle and there’s a huge surface area and then they had the benefit of putting the smallest person in the class in that boat and it floated really well.”

Sophomore Gabby Bordones was not as lucky as her team’s craft capsized in seconds.

“Our boat didn’t do so well, it went maybe a foot,” Bordones said. “We actually just took one day to make our boat, it wasn’t that hard. We had a cardboard box of a TV and we just kind of cut out the sides and then we just kind of use that as a boat, which wasn’t a good idea because it wasn’t really deep enough and water just got in really fast.”

Trial and error was the development plan for freshman Madison Saviano who gained real life skills beyond taping and cutting cardboard.

“We folded the cardboard in such a way where the box has folds and creases it in certain places,” Saviano said. “We just did that but we made the box longer, and then folded it, which kind of made a perfect boat on its own. [The project] wasn’t really about the boat. It was more of a teamwork and how you have to in any survival situation, I guess work as a team and use what you have because we have limited resources.”