Build A Boat (That Floats)

This is EE week at KIS middle and high schools! While we are all getting ready for adventure, KIS faculty got a head start at their inservice training. John Miller, HS English teacher and EE Coordinator, tells the story.

Some floated, some sank. Some were built for comfort, some were built for speed. Some victors emerged from the pool with their bathing suits completely dry, others were baptized in watery defeat.

In what will surely become an annual event, KIS faculty were challenged to complete the task given to tenth grade advisory students on the Spring Experiential Education trip: to design and build a seaworthy craft that will carry their team over water. The catch? Use only cardboard, tape and plastic wrap. With little more than most people might use to package their lunch, the staff had just fifty minutes to plan and build a boat to transport at least five members of their team across the width of the pool. Groups were composed of members from different age groups, departments, educational fields and areas of expertise. New staff mingled with veterans, elementary with high school, English teachers with instructors of science and art. Most didn’t know one another prior to the event, but would share lasting memories just two hours later.

The boats varied in design and structure with some groups opting to build traditional canoe-like crafts. Some constructed flat boats with a surfboard design, and some lashed together closed box-shaped flotation cells in a craft that resembled children’s blocky Lego projects. Groups had to coalesce behind a single vision, construct their craft and then test their idea in the KIS pool. The consequences were very real.

High School Principal Aimmie Kellar remained dry after her group finished the race. Last in the queue of her group members, she was relieved of her boating responsibilities when a teammate swamped their boat and sunk its flimsy cardboard hull into the murky depths. A sly grin came to Principal Kellar’s lips as she realized that she would remain happy and dry.

Participants in the experience bonded and formed new and lasting memories. If this first experience set a tone for the year, then 2018 will be filled with challenge and adventure!


Thank you John Miller for sharing the article. Photos from KIS faculty. Also take a look at this short video of the boat building and water test.

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