The second annual Highland Elementary Cardboard Boat Challenge delighted fans Thursday at Highland Community Park.
The challenge was to the entire fifth grade class: Build a working boat out of cardboard, duct tape and teamwork.
Spectators cheered on as boats were rowed to victory or sunk in defeat. The project combined math and science with reading, language arts and social studies. The teams were to design, construct and row their ship on a timed course, in the pond at Highland Park. Standing by to lend a helping hand were members of the Big Walnut Joint Fire Department, who made sure the water event was safe for the students.
After two weeks of preparation, calculation and collaboration, students were then given one week to construct their boat.
Each of the 40 vessels was handmade with cardboard donated from International Paper of Delaware and decorated with unique designs.
When asked what was learned through this exciting exercise, Highland staff consistently stated that this was more than math and science; this was bringing the kids together to experience a sense of community, to solve problems and work toward a common goal through teamwork.
The lengthy process of boat building will hopefully lead to the cooperation skills kids will need as they move on to the choppy waters of middle school next year. Leading by example, Highland worked with the ODNR, Highland Park, BWJFD and local business to bring education to life for an entire school to enjoy in this fun, aquatic event.
Asked the same question of merit, answer given by fifth grader-Ethan Peoples, was a slightly more practical approach to the entire lesson, “Too much weight puts it under water.”
Fans line the bridge at Highland Park.
Dylan Stryker and Alyson Howard row toward victory
Manuel Parsley waits to dock his vessel.