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VIDEO: Mount Holly Middle students build a boat

Mount Holly Middle students participate in ‘Build Your Own Boat’ competition

For the past several weeks, students in Heather Wilson’s class at Mount Holly Middle School applied their math and science knowledge and skills to design a raft for the U.S. National Whitewater Center’s ‘Build Your Own Boat’ competition.

During their research, students realized that in previous competitions many of the rafts used 50-gallon drums to successfully make it down the whitewater channel.  

“Our students came up with the idea of paint buckets,” explained Wilson. “We thought it would serve the same purpose as the 50-gallon drums and not be quite as large.”

Called the “U.S.S. Hawk,” the raft was designed to hold four adults: their teacher, assistant principal Michael Dermott, and instructional technology facilitators Chris Goodson and Katherine Leatherman.  The four adults sat on a foam board that was placed on top of two small inflatable tubes. Students then secured the foam board and paint buckets to the raft using Gorilla Tape.

On Saturday, October 6, the “U.S.S. Hawk” successfully navigated the class III and class IV rapids at the U.S. National Whitewater Center.  The Mount Holly boat was one of only eight boats out of 40 to stay intact with all four team members still inside.

“This was a really great learning experience,” said Abby Wrenn, who was one of the many students who helped to design the raft. “Not only did it teach us math and science, but it taught us how to work together as a team.”

Many of the supplies used to design the raft were donated by Lowe’s Home Improvement.