Home Features MS Students Set Sail: Cardboard Boats Can Float

MS Students Set Sail: Cardboard Boats Can Float


On Friday, May 28, students of the 8th grade officially competed in the annual Boat Float. This year, the event was held in the new Athletic Center. Of the 18 boats, about half survived to the end of the pool. Four survived the second round, and three could have gone across the length of the pool a third time.

Michael Mallak (`14) and Agnes Mirando (`14) had the fastest time in the second race with their card board boat named 81 Full Tons. They won the event for best overall speed and durability.

According to Ms. Ault, Instructor in Science, the Boat Float is a culminating unit on water. Students must study water stewardship, chemical properties of water, like capillary action, surface tension and water as a solvent.

Ms. Ault says, “The Boat Float is an investigation into buoyancy and density. It’s a collaborative project between Middle School Art and Science.”

In order to compete in the Boat Float, students must design a boat, build a scale model, test the scale model in either a Mr. Vanek’s sink or Ms. Ault’s fish pond, make adjustments, and then build their boat to see how their designs turn out in a swimming pool.

Students compete for multiple awards including best speed, most dense, least dense and boat design. Alex Keller (`14) says, “Even coming in third was so intense. We just kept paddling away. It was fun.”

Last year, the lucky winners were Sarah Abdalian (`13), Lindsay Drake (`13) and Barbie Savani (`13). “We won because of our genius design,” Drake (`13) recalls. Their boat finished the race with an undefeated record and in fact a best builders award.

Abdalian (`13) adds, “Our boat was unsinkable. After the championship race, everyone in our grade jumped on our boat and it still couldn’t be destroyed.”

All in all, the Boat Float has been a popular event for 8th grade students over the years. Maggie Dick (`13) concludes, “Yes. While we had to do all the measurements, cutting and taping, it was all well worth it.”