THUNDER BAY – Now in its 17th season, the Elementary Cardboard Boat Races took place on Tuesday at Sir Winston Churchill Secondary School in Thunder Bay. The event, hosted by Skills Canada-Ontario, provides Grade 7 & 8 students an opportunity to test their math, science, problem-solving, and teamwork skills in a real-world context.
Before the event, two teams from Holy Saviour School got together and planned their boats by drafting detailed blueprints, building test boats and testing them at Port Hole Pool. At the event, each team of four students were provided with two 4’ x 8’ sheets of cardboard, two rolls of duct tape and contact cement. The rest was up to them in the two-hour construction phase, when their teacher wasn’t permitted to coach in any way other than to point out serious safety concerns.
During the construction phase, teams were evaluated for the quality of their designs, the quality of their boat, the overall aesthetic appeal of their boat, their knowledge of skilled trades, their awareness of a safe work environment, and their teamwork ethic.
After construction was complete, boats were ferried to the pool for the speed and weight challenges. Teams raced their boats down the length of the pool to then test the maximum weight the boats could hold before falling apart or sinking.
Holy Saviour’s gold medal winning team (Julie Jaculack, Lauren Tocheri, Teesha Richard, and Ryan Shaw) got top marks for design, safety, teamwork, and knowledge of their trades for the highest overall construction score. Their speed challenge time of 24.5 seconds came in second to Ecole Secondaire Catholique de la Verendrye from Thunder Bay who scaled the length of the pool in 19 seconds. In the weight challenge, the boat held five students at 575 pounds.
Dawson Grouette-McDougall, Matteo Orrantia, Patrick Blanch, and Jordan Burton were the members of Holy Saviour’s fifth place team, who placed third overall in the weight challenge by holding 420 pounds.
Holy Saviour teacher and coach Dean Burke would like to thank Roger Souckey and Barrick Gold for their continued support, without which the team would not have been able to attend and participate in the event. A big thank-you goes out to Shawna Grouette, O.Y.A.P. Co-ordinator for Superior Greenstone District School Board, for helping to facilitate practices and provided crucial advice and insight to students as a gold medal winning coach in the secondary races.
Holy Saviour School will be sending it’s gold medal winning team to Waterloo, Ontario for the elementary provincial races the day after Marathon High School competes in the secondary provincial event.