Dozens of students at Solano Elementary School got their sea legs and gained valuable scientific lessons in an unusual project.

(From left) Wildell Deh, Nevaeh Kelly and Magdalena Kaliwambo show their creation, one of the boats fifth-graders at Solano Elementary School made and steered in the pool at the Legacy Foundation Chris-Town YMCA (photo courtesy of Osborn School District).

The 68 students launched 11 boats in the pool at the Legacy Foundation Chris-Town YMCA at 5517 N.17th Ave. recently. They tried to stay afloat and paddle in their boats over 10 yards. Their teachers had posted a challenge to them: Make seaworthy vessels using only three sheets of cardboard and two rolls of duct tape. Some of the boats struggled but all the sailors returned to land unscathed and learned lessons in buoyancy and geometry.

Fifth-graders kicked off the boat lesson by learning about the weight of water, calculating volume and making prototypes using paper and Scotch tape. By the time the students got the boats into the pool, the watercraft had been transformed into decorated, geometric materials. Students received a tangible lesson in a fun setting.

The whole project was possible because of a donation from the Osborn Education Foundation and the support of the YMCA. Younger students and retired and current staff members and parents came to the event to see students’ discipline and whimsy in the water.

Teachers hope this will become a new Solano tradition. The lead teacher on the project was Julia Hammond.



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