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The Leavenworth Times - Leavenworth, KS
  • Eighth-graders race in cardboard boats

  • With the school year coming to a close, teacher Rebecca Calhoun said racing boats is the best final students can have.
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  • With the school year coming to a close, teacher Rebecca Calhoun said racing boats is the best final students can have.
    And her eighth-grade students from Richard W. Warren Middle School did just that Tuesday as part of an annual event called the Regatta.
    The students raced across the swimming pool at the Riverfront Community Center in boats they'd created from cardboard.
    Calhoun said the project is the culmination of physical science lessons for her students as well as those of teacher Terry Shisler.
    She said the students study physical science in the fall but the Regatta project isn't assigned until the end of the year.
    For the project, students had to create scale drawings of boats.
    "They do a small model and test it in a bucket in the room or in a sink," Calhoun said.
    She said students built the life-size boats Monday from cardboard and packing tape. No other floatation devices were allowed.
    The eighth-graders constructed the boats in groups of four to six people.
    More than 140 students traveled to the community center Tuesday for the boat races. In addition to Calhoun and Shisler, other eighth-grade teachers from Warren were on hand for the event.
    Only two people raced in each boat. Up to three people were allowed to help launch each boat.
    "One shove is all they can do," Calhoun said.
    The students in the boats paddled their way across the swimming using their hands. Calhoun noted that some students had created paddles out of cardboard. But once their races began, they quickly abandoned the paddles because they weren't strong enough.
    Calhoun said school officials timed the racers as they made their way across the length of the swimming pool. But the times were not part of the students' grades.
    "They are graded on the building of the boat," Calhoun said.
    She said teachers looked at things such as teamwork and effort when determining grades.
    She said all of the eighth-graders who completed their races would receive certificates. In order to complete a race, students still had to be in their boats when they reached the end of the swimming pool.

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