Staying afloat

Dylan Henkle, top, paddles a cardboard box that once held a clothes dryer in the boat races at Great Life Golf and Fitness participating in an Abilene Middle School science project

“It’s like paper thin,” Dylan Henkle said of the boat he and fellow Abilene Middle School sixth grade students Carson Fairchild and Travis Fick constructed.

And yes, it was made mostly of paper held together with tape.

Henkle, Fairchild and Fick, along with other sixth and eighth grade science students, were given the same amount of cardboard from boxes and a roll of Duck tape with the task of building a cardboard boat.

Middle school teachers Shari Smith and Cheri Tajchman had the students test the boats in the swimming pool at Great Life Golf and Fitness on Monday and Tuesday before the pool was drained.

Each boat had a name and a crew of a captain, skipper and recorder.

Some of the boats made it the length of the pool. Others sank.

Henkle’s might have made it with their boat named Speedy Fast, had it not been for a little hole in the front.

Henkle, the captain, paddled while Fick, the skipper, was in the water assisting. Fairchild was recording the event with his iPad.

The boat made it from the shallow end to the deep end before filling with water and sinking just short of making it to the south ledge.

Once the cardboard got wet, it also became heavy as three students had to pull it out of the pool and carry it to the awaiting trailer for disposal.

Henkle came up with the design.

“I thought we were going to do pretty well,” Henkle said. “I thought we were going to make it to the end and stay afloat.”

Henkle had a difficult time paddling and he said the team missed a spot that should have been covered with tape.

“We didn’t get that little hole in the front Duck-taped as good,” he said.

Henkle said he’d like to try the project again.

“Whenever you try to make a boat out of cardboard, make sure to have all the holes patched up,” he said.

“It was fun, though,” he said.

Fick said he missed school for almost a week and wasn’t able to help a great deal.

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