WHS students to participate in second annual Cardboard Kayak Challenge & Race

On Wednesday, June 8, Washingtonville High School Technical Mathematics and Computer Science students will participate in the second annual Cardboard Kayak Challenge and Race at the school pool. 

Composed of tenth, eleventh and twelfth grade students, 11 teams will race kayaks they created utilizing math, science and engineering principals they studied this school year. Each team created a kayak using only three sheets of 3 ft x 6 ft cardboard and two rolls of duct tape. No other materials were permitted in the construction of the watercraft. 

The goal was to design a life-size watercraft, within the constraints, that could be raced across the school pool. The ability to float was an objective and because this is a race, so was speed. Students had to consider design options that would enable them to cross the pool in the shortest amount of time. 

When designing and producing their final products, students applied key math, science and engineering concepts, including weight distribution, buoyancy, buoyant force, Archimedes’ Principle, perimeter, area, and measurement. The teams also followed the Engineering Design Process (EDP) in formulating their ideas and the design and construction of their watercraft. 

EDP is a series of steps engineers follow to find a solution to a problem and was studied throughout the school year. EDP includes problem solving processes such as determining objectives and constraints, prototyping, testing and evaluation. Students gained valuable knowledge from the cardboard kayak challenge, including working collaboratively to generate creative and innovative solutions and how to select between multiple possible solutions. Students also learned the importance of failure towards project progression and iteration – rethinking, redesigning and rebuilding their prototypes to apply what they had learned in testing.

View the 11 vessels entered in the second annual Cardboard Kayak Challenge and Race.

(Above image is of last year's challenge.)