More to the Story with Staley: Cardboard Boats

POLK COUNTY, Tenn. (WDEF) — Cardboard and water generally don’t mix. Water almost always wins.

But if you throw in some duct tape and a “will to succeed,” well, amazing things can happen!

It’s a nice little gathering on the banks of the Hiwassee River in Polk County, with a lot of students from the Polk high school mathematics class. They’re about to find out if their boats float.

“This is not easy,” said organizer Leah Carroll. “They must think through the math in order to make sure the math will support their body weight.”

There are 20 teams. It took them about two weeks to build these contraptions, with cardboard and duct tape. That’s it.

There were specific rules. For example, the cardboard must not exceed an inch in thickness. And the duct tape can only be used on the seams.

“They have to do a portfolio of mathematics on their boat. Showing up force and down force. All of the calculations are done beforehand,” math teacher Jacob Carroll said. “They must even weigh their boats.”

After the judges looked over the boats, judging the themes, it was time to float. Or attempt to float.

State representative Dan Howell was one of the judges as well.

They allowed three students per boat. There were some 200 yards from the starting line to the boat landing.

“If the boat floats, and they meet all of the objectives, then they’ll get their 100 percent for it!” Jacob Carroll said.

Some came through in flying colors. The “pink ladies” had no trouble. Smooth as silk.

As for others… For example, the “Dukes of Hazzard” boat… had no chance. It sunk like a lead balloon. It went into the water one way and came out another. A little soggy.

But in the end, everybody had a boat load of fun.

“It’s very entertaining. The kids look forward to it every year,” Leah Carroll added. “It’s a great way to get the community all together. With so many people involved. It’s fun to see all of the people come together!”

This is the sixth year the high school has held this event. Organizers say it’ll most certainly be an annual affair.

Categories: Education, Featured, Local News, More To The Story With Staley, Polk County