May 21st, 2024

Cardboard boats test student’s ingenuity

By Al Beeber - Lethbridge Herald on December 10, 2021.

Katherine Delanoy pilots her Vauxhall High School cardboard boat across the Max Bell Aquatic Centre pool at the U of L during a challenge staged by Career Transitions on Thursday.


They engineered, they built and they conquered. Or they sank. But the students involved in the 21st annual Career Transitions cardboard boat races Thursday at the University of Lethbridge didn’t seem to mind.
Career Transitions, a charitable organization serving schools across southwestern Alberta, teamed up with the University of Lethbridge for the event which challenges students to test their math and science skills.
Teams from participating schools designed their boats in advance, submitted their plans to a judge and crafted them out of cardboard and tape before hitting the water at the Max Bell Regional Aquatic Centre. Teams that managed to cross the finish line without their craft falling apart were given a subsequent test in which three team members got into the boat and tried to float for one minute.
Despite the Regional Skills Canada competition being cancelled for the second straight year because of COVID-19, Career Transitions went ahead with the boat challenge with 102 students instead of the usual 200.
Judy Stolk-Ingram, executive director of Career Transitions said on the pool deck “under normal circumstances, we would have 50 teams of four” but different schools had different COVID protocols in place.
“The whole idea behind the day really is to give students a chance to apply math and science curriculum in a real-life situation and have fun. And learn a bit about team work and a little bit about leadership and a little bit about communication at the same time,” she said.
“This is an event where we bring in members from the community, we bring in design people, engineers to be our judges on the build,” Stolk-Ingram added.
Teams had to follow certain rules: they weren’t allowed to do a running start and one person was the pilot who had the task of getting the boat across the water using their hands or cardboard paddles to propel their craft across the width of the pool.
Boats making it across were taken out of the water and then given the weight challenge.
“Part of the process is that they are required to submit a design when they first arrive to the build. That design gets handed over to one of the judges and that is part of the judging criteria,” said Stolk-Ingram
Teams showed up with blueprints and others with drawings on a napkin and there was everything else in between, Stolk-Ingram said.
Some teams were making their initial appearance and were full of enthusiasm, she said.
Career Transitions serves schools from the Crowsnest Pass east to Bow Island as well as schools in places such as Lethbridge, Cardston, Milk River, Vauxhall and north to Nanton.
“Our mandate is to provide career exploration programming to high school students in an effort to help them just explore and be aware and then hopefully make better informed decisions about those first steps after high school graduation,” Stolk-Ingram said.

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