Print Page


Archimedes rules

Four team mates in their hand-made boat rejoice as they reach the end of their 25-yard voyage across the Price indoor pool Tuesday

Four team mates in their hand-made boat rejoice as they reach the end of their 25-yard voyage across the Price indoor pool Tuesday. They and other students at Lighthouse High School were taking part in the float-a-boat exercise. Teachers Roger Swasey and Wes Thompson established some rules for their classes that are easy to understand but difficult to achieve. First, construction materials are limited to cardboard and duct tape. Second, they had to calculate where the water line on their boats would be when all crew members were aboard. Third, they would be timed on how long it took them to travel the length of the pool. The project involved learning about the Archimedes principle of weight and water displacement, using concepts of mass and volume, and boat construction. Thompson said that aside from applied math and science, students also had to work as teams to get the job done. Designs ranged from canoes to catamarans to barges. Not all the boats made it to the finish line. A few folded and sank while they were being boarded at the deep end, another made it halfway before capsizing, and - in a real heart-breaker - one went down with all hands just three or four feet from landfall. Note that all crew members are observing boating safety and wearing life vests.




Print Page