Students Build 3D Scale Models with Sea of Opportunities

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School Collaborations Bring STEM Maritime Education to Nantucket Students

By Olivia E. Jackson, Membership and Marketing Assistant

Every Friday this winter, Egan's Manager of Maritime Education, Evan Schwanfelder, is working with the Nantucket New School, teaching the 7th and 8th graders. He has implemented a STEM curriculum in which the students design and build a functioning, life-size boat. This is a year long, in depth, project based learning curriculum with a real world, tangible outcome.

In small teams, the students begin the project with brainstorming and boat designing. Then, they move on to draft scale drawings and plans for the execution of their boat. Throughout the project, the students must consider the following elements in their designs:

  • buoyancy
  • displacement
  • hull shape
  • hydrodynamics
  • stability
  • and maneuverability.

The students' scale models and completed boat builds will be tested with all the aforementioned elements in mind. At the time of this writing, January 15, 2019, the students are in the process of completing scale prototypes of their boats, which will be put through a series of mock trials.

Throughout the year of working with these students, Evan also incorporates a historical component to his teachings. Intermittently, Evan will share and teach the students about notable shipwrecks around the island, breaking up the predominately science-based curriculum with history lessons. Talking about his work with the New School students, Evan describes the boat building curriculum as an "anchoring project" in which the students are continuously working on it throughout the year, but they are also getting smaller, related lessons on various topics.