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The fourth annual Farmington Middle School Boat Float had a wide assortment of "seaworthy crafts" hit the waves Wednesday at the Farmington Water Park for a time of competition and fun.

According to eighth grade science teacher Dustin Washam, about 300 of his students spend a week filling up the hallways of the middle school with pieces of cardboard that eventually began taking the form of boats. Roughly half of the students tested their creations in the swimming pool at the water park.

“It’s a project based grading assignment,” he said. “They are graded on different components: design, creativity, building it in class and the actual floating distance today. They can theme out their boat if they want. That gets them a bonus as long as they fully did everything else. We give them five class days. They get a full week of building at school. We give them one day to paint."

Washam explained the materials that can be used are limited in scope, which leaves the students with the ability to test their engineering abilities only through design.

“They can only use cardboard and duct tape,” he said. “They can not make a square or rectangular boat. They have to make an actual boat. There’s lots of other stuff they can’t use — no flex tape or flex seal, anything like that.”

The students are allowed, however, to pick their own partners and work across classes. Washam gave credit to the many volunteers and fellow instructors for making the event a success.

“We couldn’t do it without the civic center,” he said. “Parent volunteers, the other teachers at the middle school that don’t teach science that let them do this and fill the hallways with cardboard, and also the custodial staff.”

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Mark Marberry is a reporter for the Farmington Press and Daily Journal. He can be reached at 573-518-3629, or at mmarberry@farmingtonpressonline.com.

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