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Annual event displays Phloats

[media-credit name=”Gabe Dreyer” align=”alignleft” width=”300″][/media-credit]

Splash: Seniors Nick Sellke and Jacob Brunell row the homemade “Phloat” they made for the annual senior Physics Boat Project race, which was Thursday, May 26 in the pool.

by Ned Martenis

All senior physics classes participated in the Physics Boat Project, an annual event also nicknamed “Phloat,” May 26.
A group of 100 seniors sank or floated 15 individual floats in the swimming pool, according to science department head Amy Winston.
This event marked the first time the Physics Boat Project was held in the new pool.
Using their understanding of buoyancy and density, seniors attempted to construct boats out of PVC piping and cardboard, according to science teacher Michael Hazeltine. Their goal: to complete a lap of the pool without sinking, Hazeltine said.
“Phloat,” as the organizers call it, is a tradition stretching back many years, he said.
Previously, the Physics Boat Project was done with Hazeltine’s Pilot and Springboard classes, he said.
However, when those classes began to take MCAS, there was not time to complete the project, he said.
Instead, the AP and Honors Physics classes adopted the project, Hazeltine added.
Hazeltine said, “It started for me as a way to keep seniors invested in the class past the exam,” but quickly evolved into a tradition of its own.
Students create small, two-seater boats over the course of four weeks. They start with coffee stirrer and tin foil models and work their way up to building the actual boat in groups of about four or five, he said.
Originally, Hazeltine said, boats were built out of bamboo, but “students had trouble working with the bamboo, so we switched to PVC.” While retaining similar construction concepts to bamboo, PVC connectors allow easy construction, Hazeltine said.
Seniors Emily Cetlin, Rebecca Gilbert, Anna Kaertner, Anita Li, Anita Sodder and Liz Thomas from Deborah Lund’s Honors Physics class won the “Phloat” race.

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