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First Oasis Cardboard Boat Race held

By Staff | May 13, 2011

Eleven boats participated in the 1st annual Oasis Cardboard Boat Race Friday afternoon. The crafts were designed and constructed 8th grade students to float across the lake in front of Oasis High School.
The lake was surrounded by approximately 500 students as they cheered on their friends as their boats were put to the test of making it across the lake without sinking.
John Omundsen, math teacher, said 250 8th grade students participated in this inaugural Oasis Cardboard Boat Race.
The race, which kicked off at noon, was a competition among the three 8th grade math teachers at Oasis Middle School. Omundsen said the event gave the students a real hands-on experience of what they have been learning in the classroom throughout the year.
Some of the skills the students had to refer back to included scale drawings, proportional reasoning, volume and surface, area calculations, spatial reasoning and the Pythagorean theorem.
Omundsen said the students had to envision what the three dimensional boat would look like from the two dimensional scale drawing they began with in October.
Another math teacher, Chris Fennell, said all the boats were also required to incorporate at least three distinct geometric shapes in their design.
There were five or six teams per classroom who were assigned different sections of the boat, so all the students had to put forth their effort in the project.
“They learned so much more in the end,” Fennell said about the students. “They became really passionate about it.”
Math instructor Ana Morera said she enjoyed how excited her students were about the project. She said it was great because her students were doing mathematical equations without knowing it.
She could not help but smile when she shared that two of her students’ boats made it across without sinking early on in the race.
The first 8th-grade student to make it without the boat dismantling before reaching the other side of the lake was Tyler Sidell, a student of Morera’s. He said it felt pretty good to make it across the lake.
Sidell, who was the only student in the boat Friday afternoon, said he used lots of cardboard and tape to secure the craft.
Since the 11 boats were put in the water at different times, many other teams waited by their boats on the hill for their turn.
Joe Torregrasso was excited to see if his “Rockin Rocket” cardboard boat would make it across the lake Friday afternoon. He said the boat was constructed out of different shapes and measured about 10 feet by 2 feet.
“It was fun and cool to work on,” he said about the project that took approximately 15 hours to complete with his fellow 8th grade classmates.
Joshua Rivera, another 8th grade student, was patiently awaiting to see if his boat “The Cat” would be successful in its travels across the lake. The boat, which was 6 feet long and 1 foot wide, was constructed during a few of his hour-long class periods.
“We secured everything with 10 to 12 rolls of tape on everything,” he said about his boat.
Omundsen said they had a little more than a 50 percent success rate Friday afternoon for the students who constructed a sound boat that made it all the way to the finish line.
“It was a good day for them and the kids had a lot of fun,” he said. “It is going to be an annual thing, it was to much fun not to do it again next year.”
Fennell was pleased with the event because the students had to use a combination of everything they learned in the classroom to keep their boat afloat during the race. He said he was also happy with the way the teachers designed the activity because it included every single 8th grade student.
“It went better than expected,” Fennell said about the event Friday.
Morera said she hopes they continue to hold the race every year because the students had to apply everything they learned throughout the year for their end-of-the-year project.
Certificates were given for the most creative boat, best sinking Titanic award, most clever, people’s choice, best original design, best construction, best decorated, best team effort and most whimsical.