After a year of learning engineering design and principles, Rockford high school students put their skills to the test for the 4th Annual Cardboard Canoe Race. 

Using just two sheets of cardboard and two rolls of duct tape, Rockford high school students designed and built boats to be tested in the water. 

Kids learned how the engineering process actually applies to building things. 

“Yes, it’s just a cardboard boat and it ends up by the end of the day being all dissolved and messed up, but what they take away is really all the principles of being a good designer and a good engineer,” said Bruce Kramer, Project Lead the Way Engineering Teacher at East High School. 

Students race against teams from other schools vying for awards in different categories. Teams going for speed came up with aerodynamic designs. 

“We made a little boat with little walls because we wanted to make it go quicker, and we made the top a bit slanted up, so it could go quicker to the side too,” said Samuel Hernandez, Jefferson High School. 

Some teams went for innovation.

“We added a whole support system on the inside of the boat and more tape around it, and we actually have a fin this year at the bottom of the boat,” said Kyla Mack, Auburn High School. 

Other teams focused on a strong theme for their vessels. 

“The theme of our boat came from Minecraft and the Titanic because we have a 99.99% chance of either sinking or tipping,” said Marie Breedlove, Auburn High School. 

And for others, it was just about having fun with their teammates. 

“We tried making it round, but it wasn’t going to be round because it can’t be round,” said Mikel Andrad, Jefferson High School. “It was too hard. We made it square, and we added flaps like a duck.” 

The boat races highlight engineering principals and focus on what students have learned over the past year. It’s also a great team building activity.

“Sometimes the kids that attend Roosevelt haven’t always had the most positive experiences in schools, so being a part of that is kind of refreshing that, you know, that there really are some great and amazing things happening in the Rockford Public schools,” said Krystal Scroggins, Academy Coach at Roosevelt High School. 

Local engineers volunteered to judge the boat designs for the event. 

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