Waterlogged students race with science

By Michelle Costanza

March 14, 2014 Updated Mar 14, 2014 at 11:52 PM EDT

Town of Chenango, NY (WBNG Binghamton) Chenango Valley middle schoolers paddled, sank and swam this afternoon in a race that had students more concerned about staying afloat than beating the clock.

More than 100 7th- and 8th-graders raced across the pool and back in homemade boats vying for the quickest time, but boat construction ended up being a much bigger challenge.

"Usually about a quarter make it," said CV Middle School Principal Eric Attleson.

So what's the catch?

The only two legal materials-- cardboard and duct tape -- left most students soggy and capsized.

For others, the buoyancy lessons in science class paid off.

"Our strategy was to make sure we paddled in sync and keep ourselves balanced," said Carly, Sara and Megan, constructors and paddlers of "S.S. Cray-Cray."

The S.S. Cray-Cray rowers completed the race in 58 seconds, which was the fastest of the afternoon.

"Not in a pool, but we practiced in our basement... turning around and stuff," laughed the girls.

Of the 46 boats, those students who survived the trek with their cardboard contraptions intact and above the water all agreed that an excessive amount of duct tape was the secret to success.

"I have probably about four to eight layers of cardboard right here, completely covered in duct tape," said 7th grader Justice Fletcher, pointing to his paddle.

The boats that survived were taken home as trophies, and those that ended up as waterlogged, floating debris were piled up to be recycled.

"This is the fourth year and we plan to do it again. The students have been learning about buoyancy concepts and building these boats for a couple weeks now," said Attleson.

Many of the soggy students said they are already planning to be champs with their new designs for next year's race.

To submit a comment on this article, your email address is required. We respect your privacy and your email will not be visible to others nor will it be added to any email lists.