Fourth graders at James Cole Elementary School learn a lot about the engineering and design process in their daily science instruction. They were able to put some of this knowledge to use during the Cole Regatta. Students first completed a STEM activity that taught the concept of Drag. They then were asked to apply the concepts they had learned in reverse and build a boat that could hold a 25-pound bag of sand "Sand Baby" and float quickly across the Cole Wetlands. The parameters for the design were a bit unique: Students could only use cardboard boxes and duct tape. Each student group had the opportunity to build and launch their boat across the Cole Wetlands. Those boats that did not take on water had the chance to launch across a section of the Cole Outdoor Education Center pond. What students discovered was that a flat front boat is not as effective as one with a pointed front. They also learned the value of size and width in their boat design that could assist in the displacement of weight on the water. There were many successes and a few setbacks during the launches, but that's all part of the design process. Design, test, redesign. This activity is a supplement to the Tippecanoe School Corporation's elementary STEM focus. Many great memories were made while students learned a lot of science.
The Cole Regatta Teaches Many Concepts of Engineering and Design