Friday, June 12, 2009

Cardboard Boat Races!

Ages: 2 groups - Homeschoolers Ages 0-11 and Ages 12 & up
** All participants MUST be able to swim the length of an in ground pool free style and a parent/guardian must stay on site if they want their child/children to participate.**

Teams: A team can be made up of however many kids (all ages) for the building of the boat but only 2 kids maximum from the team (1 at a time) can race the boat in the pool.

When: Friday, June 12th; 10:30 – 2:00

Where: Local Homeschooling family's pool!

Cost: Free (whatever you spend on materials)

What to bring: Your boat and oars, swim suits, towels & your lunch.

The challenge: Design and build a human-powered boat made of corrugated cardboard, duct tape & plastic wrap that is capable of at least 2 trips up and back in a pool.

Boat Materials – Cardboard, Plastic Wrap, and Duct Tape. (You may use permanent marker to mark a name on your boat.)

Boats are to be propelled by oars or paddles that must be made of the same materials as the boat.

Two Boat and Oar Building Rules you MUST follow in order to participate!!

Please note if your boat has paint or if it is not fully covered with duct tape you will NOT be able to race.
1) Boats and Oars MUST be fully covered in duct tape on the outside.
2) NO Paint of any kind.

Some things to think about:

A flat bottom is recommended.

The lowest center of gravity is the most stable; kneeling or standing will cause you to tip over.

Longer boats go faster, but they are harder to turn.

For height, allow about 18 inches for you to sit and paddle effectively without the edge of your boat blocking your arms.

For width, figure about 18 inches for a kayak, about 23-24 inches for a canoe. Figure about 30 inches maximum for 1 person.

Maybe you will choose to calculate the displacement of your design idea so that you will have some certainty about the buoyancy of your design. Here's the basic number: a cubic foot of water weighs about 62 pounds. That means that a 180-pound man will float in a boat that is 1 foot by 1 foot by 3 ft. That may be uncomfortable but at least you will know just how much boat you will need.

What an absolute BLAST! The kids constructed the boats last Friday and we raced them today! Last week everyone kept making fun of Sophia's boat telling her it looked like a shoe, but guess whose boat was the ONLY one from our family to float the whole length of the pool?

Grant and Chris were in the first heat, Grant didn't even manage to leave the edge of the pool without the boat going down! Hannah and Emily were in the next heat, Emily managed to go maybe 20 % of the way down the pool before she flipped their boat! Jacob and Cade never even got their boat going! Sophia, on the other hand, in her little red "shoe" boat, made it the whole length of the pool!

What we learned? That we MUST reinforce the boats next time, either by triple or quadruple layering the floor or by using some kind of "support" beams/boxes to help stabilize the boats so the boats don't fold in half. We need to create the lowest sides possible, but they have to be high enough to not take on water! We also need STRONGER oars! We thought 4 layers of cardboard wrapped in duct tape would be plenty strong enough, but we were COMPLETELY WRONG, our oars bent in half almost immediately! It is also a good idea to cover the inside of the boat with SOMETHING (either plastic wrap or duct tape). We already have plans to collect materials for next year as we come across them (like wrapping paper rolls and the rolls out of boxes of aluminum foil.

Here is a slideshow from today's races and last week's boat building...I have only included the pictures of my kids and Chris...unless you couldn't see the other child's face...I know it freaks some people out to have their kids pictures on the internet!

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

This has been very helpful!! My husband is in the Air Force and he is tech school right now. This Saturday they are having a contest to see who can build a cardboard boat out of nothing but carboard and duct tape and be able to support one person. So he asked me to look up some helpful suggestions. If you have any other suggestions they would be much appreciated. Thank You so much, Amber