The question was not “Will your boat sink?” but “When?”
Dozens of students were hoping their cardboard boats, hand-built and ready to take on passengers, would outlast all others during School District 69 (Qualicum)’s first time taking on the Skills Canada B.C. Cardboard Boat Race Challenge on Friday, June 8 at Qualicum Beach Civic Centre and Ravensong pool.
Students had two hours or less to construct a cardboard boat using limited materials, including two four-by-eight foot sheets of one-quarter inch cardboard, eight metres of string, one roll of duct tape, some utility knives and not much else.
“Very limited materials, but a lot of creativity,” said Arrowview Elementary School Grade 6 and 7 teacher Jordan Lee.
Sd69’s elementary schools took part, with students in Grades 6 and 7 first designing and practicing for their build at school and then doing it all for real on June 8.
The challenge was to build a boat that could float, carry lots of weight and go fast.
This was tested in races where one or two students would paddle in their boats from one end of Ravensong pool to the other, then load as many team members into their boat as they dared to see if it could float for two minutes.
Grade 7 Errington student and member of Pie Rat team, Eric Kittmer, said his concern was if his team’s boat would snap in the middle and sink.
“The main boat, it was only one piece of cardboard,” he said. “We made four cuts altogether.”
“We water-proofed the bottom (with duct tape)” he noted. “We hope it works.”
Unfortunately, team Pie Rat’s HMS Rat King did not make it across Ravensong pool, but they were not the only ones.
Only a handful of teams were able to take on the two-minute floating challenge after the race, and even fewer survived that.
However, the winning team, Nanoose Bay Elementary School team 3, managed to cram many students into their boat for the two-minute challenge, getting up to seven before it sunk.
NBES team 3 consisted of: Annie Jorgenson, Leah Radix, Molly Cole and Amy Fuchs.
In second place was Arrowview Elementary School’s team 2, with Sam Falkenberg, Lyla Wilson, Spire Bishop and Mayson Miller.
Third place was awarded to Nanoose Bay Elementary School’s team 1, with Macy Hughes, Grace Bouman, Suzanne Fidgin and Brooke Bleaney.
“I think it’s great,” said Lee of the event.
“All of my students that are here, I brought 16 of my own students, they’re all having a great time. I’ve heard numerous times that they’re having more fun than they thought they would, and I think they are just having a great time watching everybody’s boat sink.”