Engineering floats PWHS students’ boats
The end of semester Plymouth Whitemarsh High School (PWHS) engineering classes’ cardboard boat race has become a must-see event. Students in Honors Engineering 1, Honors Engineering 2 and Pre-AP Engineering, as well as some former engineering students and special guests, took part in the project.
“It’s a rapid fire, one-week assignment,” said Teacher Jim Muscarella. “The only directions are they may only use cardboard and duct tape, and the boat may be no longer than 18 feet.”
The boats are scored on a point system, with one point awarded per occupant per each trip the length of the pool. The number of occupants per boat ranged from one to six.
A team of juniors Adrien Boyle and Noor Al-Hedeshi, sophomore Maya Hoffman and freshman Tori Pettine won the race with 50 points, 19 better than the second place boat.
“I was very surprised that our boat won,” said Hoffman. “I was shocked we even made it across the water.”
Hoffman chose Engineering 1 as an elective because she has a passion for science and creative problem solving. In the class, she learned that longer boats are faster than shorter ones but harder to steer. Her team opted to design and build a 10-foot boat that would move through the water easily forward and backward to eliminate the need for turning at each end of the pool.
“It’s difficult to make a boat completely of cardboard and duct tape,” she added. “We layered the bottom of our boat with three layers of cardboard to make it sturdy. We also coated our boat with duct tape to make it water-resistant.”
The engineering classes at PWHS are part of the school’s EDI (Entrepreneurship, Design and Innovation) Department.