Physics Students Keep Handmade Boats Afloat

Physics Students Keep Handmade Boats Afloat
Shawnee Mission School District

One science lesson in particular made a splash for students at Shawnee Mission East High School this year.

Using large boxes and duct tape, students constructed boats to test out in the school swimming pool. It was a culminating project for students in Advanced Placement and International Baccalaureate Physics with teacher Miles Martin.

With a single passenger and an oar, students were required to paddle the full width of the pool. In addition to keeping the boats afloat, students were also racing to see who could travel across the pool the fastest.

Abby Goodman, senior, spent several hours calculating, planning, and constructing her boat. She said she spent additional time making her boat look like a rocket ship.

“I learned that having a really good plan is important so everything goes as planned,” she expressed.

The competition drew several staff members and students to see how well the boats fared in the water. Every student made it across the water, except for one that tipped for fun, Martin noted.  

The science teacher had engaged students in this activity previously and enjoys providing this opportunity to students because it brings together a lot of what has been talked about in class.

“It keeps students active and involved and we had some fun,” Martin said. “They did a great job and I’m really proud of their work.”