Cardboard. Check. Plastic. Check. Duct tape. Check. Box cutters. Check. Armed with only these supplies and their minds, the Lisbon High School Physics students were out to compete. The prize for success: pride and points for Physics Challenge. The cost of failure: a dip in Beaver Pond.

On Tuesday, September 30, the 14 teams, made up of two to eight Lisbon High School Physics students, competed in the Boat Float at Beaver Park. This was the second year the Physics classes held the event and more students participated this year. The goal was to design and build a boat that could travel out into the pond, round the buoy and back without sinking.

The students practiced making boats on a smaller scale in class and “only a few groups looked beyond what we had been doing in class to try to find ways to make their boat more successful,” shared Miss Rita Newell, one of the LHS Physics teachers. The real building didn’t begin until 10 a.m. on Tuesday morning. Each team had to buy a roll of duck tape. Teams were provided with limited building materials one piece of cardboard, plastic and a few extra sheets of plastic per team member who would brave the pond. The teams had three hours to build and then it was test time.

While some boats sank as soon as the passengers got in them, many made it out into the pond. Four teams completed the course successfully. Even with the many wet students, the trip was a success. “Having a design that doesn’t work can be as great of a learning experience as having one that does,” said Miss Newell. She also explained that the Boat Float “was extremely successful at getting kids to try out ideas.” Tyler Gawrys, Physics student, added, “It got a lot of people to be creative and engineer something useful.” The students enjoyed the trip. “It was fun,” according to one of the competitors, Caitlin Ramsay. “The water was a little cold, but it was fun.”


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