Sink or swim: Moffat County cardboard boat races float along for Homecoming fun, learning
A learn-by-doing methodology was on display Friday at the Loudy-Simpson Park pond as Moffat County High School science students learned quickly whether or not they had a future in engineering.
And yes, some of them wound up soaked.
The MCHS cardboard boat races returned as part of Bulldog Homecoming as Advanced Science Topics pupils hit the water with their specially crafted vessels, featuring corrugated boxes, some flashy paint jobs and lots of duct tape.
Moffat County science instructor Heather Fross led the event, with her students testing their boats in the shallows, either by boarding them or placing a log in them to get a sense of buoyancy.
Those who were game then paddled around the pond’s small dock to see if their work would literally hold water.
Most who raced kept their small ships in tact, while others promptly found themselves dunked in the water.
Kayce Pierce and Kylee Batson-Bovee opted to stay out of the pond after confirming their tropical-themed boat would float, largely because they didn’t want to risk their specially made team t-shirts from Chaos Ink getting ruined.
The amount of time they put in the boat was also substantial.
“We were working on it from the end of August until last week. I’m pretty proud of it,” Pierce said. I was sure it would sink once they put the log in, but it didn’t. They said we did a good job with it.”
Others were less apprehensive about the H20, including the duo of Justin Warren and Taylor Coleman, dressed as a princess and knight in a dragon boat, which Warren promptly decapitated after the race.
“That thing was a pain, and what we wanted to do was since I was the princess and being rescued, we wanted to turn it so that I was the one who killed the dragon in the end,” he said.
Warren and Coleman were part of the design team that also included Everett Jacobson, Nichole Currie and Laura Kunkle, with the group earning the award for Most Creative.
Fastest Time — Kaden Cox, Daniel Cruz; 46.5 seconds
Most Creative — Justin Warren, Taylor Coleman, Everett Jacobson, Nichole Currie, Laura Kunkle; Dragon
Best Sportsmanship — Aunnika Hampton, Justice McMillan; “Moana”
Titanic Award — Dave Drake; Pumpkin patch
Best Team Spirit — Haylee Ludgate, Tate Severson; Hogwarts Express
Best Design — Landen Najera, Cassidy Reed; “The Incredibles”
The pair of Landen Najera and Cassidy Reed kept a simple but effective structure for their boat with a theme of Pixar’s “The Incredibles,” though they forgot to wear the superhero domino masks.
Though they won Best Design as one of the few sets of paddlers who remained completely dry, a slow start in the race kept them from Fastest Time.
“We could have gone faster if we hadn’t started out going backwards,” Reed said. “It was just a real fun experience doing this.”
Fross said she was pleased to bring back the favorite fall time event, which involved clearing use of the pond with the county, ensuring warm enough weather and having volunteer Robert Schenck in the water in a kayak, as well as trained lifeguards on the dock just in case.
Leading up to the race, Fross provided some helpful hints to students, such as the relationship between surface area and flotation.
“They learned some engineering skills and overall design, but there’s so much science that goes into getting a boat to float, and there’s the artistic side and being creative in the project,” she said. “I love the team spirit part of it too, when they dress up as groups. That’s what makes it a great Homecoming.”