Boats that float -- maybe

Cardboard regatta kicks off high school's Science Olympics


The Moffat County High School science department wasn't sure how its first event would go -- but 24 cardboard boats later, the Science Olympics were a hit.

"We wanted them to be imaginative," science teacher Kip Hafey said. "They're scored on presentation, time, team spirit, and we're giving away the Titanic award for the best sinker."

Hafey explained that the Olympics are a new event this year, and he hopes to have different events every month or two. Students created cardboard boats, then rode in them and paddled with oars and their hands.

"It's a project they do on their own," Hafey said. "Hopefully this week they studied buoyancy."

As students descended on Loudy-Simpson Park on Friday afternoon, it was apparent how much time and effort some of the teams put into their ships, and it was obvious some were built Thursday night on a whim.

Hafey tabbed the Barnyard team as his favorite, but science teacher Aaron Kessler gave the Viking Ship his vote of confidence.

The creativity was abundant at the regatta -- other titles included the El Barco De Muerte, which lovingly means the Boat of Death, built by Kadi Cattoor, Alex Garcia, Ariah Updike and Ali Sherman.

"We spent two hours every night since Monday building," Cattoor said.

El Barco was made from cardboard, duct tape and adhesive. Cattoor and Sherman were elected to captain the vessel during the race at the Loudy-Simpson pond.

The requirements for the boats were that the ships must be made of cardboard, only 10 percent of the boats' exteriors could have duct tape, any type of paint was allowed but no water sealant, and adhesives such as silicone could be used.

Hafey said the rules allowed for loopholes, and that's what they wanted to see. He said they wanted the kids to get creative and find different ways to make their boats.

Hafey also said they wanted the families to be involved.

"If a kid asked if their parents could help, we said 'Sure,'" Hafey said. "We wanted it to be a family event."

The crowd Friday was dotted with the faces of parents and students alike, cheering on the teams as they attempted to race around two milk jug buoys 40 yards off the shore.

Davy Jones' Locker finished the course without sinking in 1 minute 40 seconds, following close behind at 1:46 were the Sailor Haters.

Eric Dodds and Cathrine Compton sailed Davy Jones' Locker to victory. Compton defined victory as staying afloat and finishing with a decent time.

Her team, made up of herself, Dodds, Nick Marchbanks and Nathaniel Jones, completed the project as part of Hafey's outdoor science class.

"It's better than sitting and listening to lectures all day," Compton said.

With the regatta deemed a success by the department, the Science Olympics will continue throughout the school year.

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