Kids learn about physics during Recycle Regatta

by Julia Soes

Sail Orcas Head Coach

The Orcas High School Sailing Team joined the Funhouse in putting on the second Recycle Regatta.

This event aims to teach kids about the physics of what makes a boat float and go, and about the trash we produce. High school sailors lead groups of K-4 students in finding objects and predicting if and why they would float, drawing plans for their trash boats, then building and testing them.

For the high schoolers, this is a chance to practice teaching and talking about physics in a controlled and low-stress environment. As part of Sail Orcas, the sailors can one day become instructors. This early practice is key for teaching them how to teach.

The first session was all about testing, predicting, building, and modifying. The next week was for testing and recording the boats’ speed in a tub of water with a fan. In a sign of progress from last year’s Recycle Regatta, no boats sank.

As soon as a tub of water or puddle is presented, kids will tend to stick things in it, so the high schoolers recorded the results and it went from splashing around to a lesson in STEM. This year’s recycled materials to use for boats included old CDs, cardboard boxes, foil, and layers of foam from old lifejackets past their expiration date.

The results from the time test will be sent to the national Recycle Regatta competition to be judged on creativity, seaworthiness, and speed. Sail Orcas will also judge the boats and issue prizes for the best boat name and most comfortable-looking boat to take a trip in (assuming they were a little bigger of course).

Contributed photo

Contributed photo