THUNDER BAY -- Learning about math and engineering can be fun – and a little wet too.
On Tuesday Grade 7 students gathered at Thunder Bay’s Canada Games Complex for the annual Skills Canada Ontario cardboard boat race competition.
Olivia Sheparski said the entire experience was a great way to combine science taught students plenty of lessons they’ll be able to use later in life – even those who don’t go into shipbuilding for a career.
“Learning how to build a boat is pretty fun,” the 12-year-old said. “You have to work as a team. And the racing, I thought we did pretty good.”
Classmate David Houlding said his group built a boat large enough to hold seven people during the weight challenge, which took plenty of planning.
That’s what school’s all about, he said.
“You’re learning about science at the same time as hands-on work, but at the same time it’s just having fun, like racing the boat, designing the boat and having a weight challenge for the boat,” he said.
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Picking design took plenty of thought.
He and his classmates went for a slanted-V design, to allow the boat easily glide through the water, but break the waves at the same time.
Organizer Antonio Stefanile, a liaison officer with Skills Canada Ontario, said the goal of the event is to promote careers in skills trades and technologies.
“If you want to promote certain career choices, the earlier the better,” he said. “By fostering this environment now, by fostering a sense of value for these careers and how much we depend on these professionals in our everyday life, it’s a lot easier to guide the students as they move through their education experience and select certain courses that will lead them into this pathway.”
Boat-building teams were judged on everything from safety and cleanliness to planning, design and visual appeal.
According to Skills Canada Ontario-supplied figures, 50 per cent of skilled trades personnel are expected to retire by 2018 and Ontario could be facing a shortage of up to 560,000 skilled employees, in 150 different professions, by 2030.
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