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Beline Obeid

Students prep for North's second cardboard boat races


March 08, 2012
Grosse Pointe North High School physics students from Gary Abud's, Don Pata's and Chris Amore's classes are setting sail with their cardboard creations for the second annual Cardboard Boat Race.

The event is 8 a.m. Wednesday, March 14, at North's natatorium and involves approximately 350 students and more than 50 boats, constructed from cardboard and select adhesive materials used at the seams.

Students, in groups of four to six, worked for a month researching, designing, decorating and constructing their boats, such that the final product withstands the weight of two student rowers racing a full lap.

"(The event is) an opportunity for students to integrate their physics knowledge and design thinking as they apply their learning to an authentic task," Abud said in a release.

The cardboard regatta is one of several student-design projects throughout the year. To date, students have built marshmallow catapults, cardboard luggage, T-shirt launchers, trebuchets, leaf-blower hovercrafts and mousetrap-powered vehicles. Together, all exemplify the physics department's focus on teaching concepts and principles through project- and problem-based learning.

"It's great when the learning can be memorable like this for the students," Amore said.

For more information, contact Abud at gary.abud@gpschools.org.

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