Fifth Graders Build a Boat!

Project-Based Learning - Hands On, Minds On
by Tina Quan, fifth grade parent


Fifth graders finished up three weeks with the Wind and Oar Boat School School workshop on-site.  This program was made possible by a grant from the Wind and Oar Boat School and Genentech.  During the program, students rotated between three stations which involved basic boat geometry and blueprint plans, using hand saws and power tools (such as jigsaws and power screwdrivers) and applying mathematical concepts (fractions, units of measurement).  In addition to a full-scale rowboat, students made individual model boats as well.

The finished boat went back to the Wind and Oar Boat School shop to get painted. We can't wait to share the finished product with everyone!

From Wind & Oar Boat School:

Inspiring STEAM learners through hands-on education

Building a wooden boat  from scratch is an innovative and unique platform for exploring  the importance and power of  the acquisition of STEM  and STEAM skills.  Each step in building a wooden boat, from concept and design, to reviewing plans, reading plans, scaling up materials, fitting and shaping parts, mastering hand and power tools, is an opportunity to teach and reinforce the science, technology, engineering and math skills used in the process.

Science is essential, from the physics of hull design, boat weight and displacement, to the botany behind specific wood choices, to the chemistry of paint products, a knowledge of scientific inquiry and principles benefits the design, and function of a wooden boat.

Technology, it’s a broad term, but essential aspect of building a wooden boat, whether it is in the use of hand and power tools or the application of CAD programming to design hull shape, breaking down the essential components of any of these processes is to understand technology.

Engineering…applying the math and science tools to foresee the steps critical to the process of constructing a boat, engineering is building.

Math is essential, from basic measurement, to ratios, and geometric theorems, math assures accuracy and serves as a tool for designing both form and function.

And finally, Art is essential...the elements of design, function and aesthetics are woven together in the building of a wooden boat.  Art arises out of the mastery and application of skills.  Wood, in its essence, a thing of natural beauty, can be transformed in the hands of a master craftsman into a functional object of beauty