UTPB STEM Academy students put their engineering skills to the test

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ODESSA, Texas (Nexstar)- Some might describe the 2020-2021 schoolyear as a “shipwreck”, others are hoping to use lessons learned during the pandemic to sail into a brighter future.

UTPB STEM Academy middle schoolers put their engineering skills to the test Wednesday during the annual end of year boat races.

The students are tasked with building a pool worthy boat to ferry their classmates across the UTPB pool.

The boats, made of cardboard and duct tape, must support the weight of the students inside.

“Okay so the boat races are pretty amazing, the kids get a chance to get in the floor and work with their teammates, and use their engineering design process to build a boat,” said social studies teacher Amanda Hart. “They have to calculate buoyancy, they have to figure out how much weight can go in the boat, they have to figure out is this going to leak? Is this not going to leak? You know every day is a lesson, learning from the kids working with each other… they’ve been doing their research, they know what they’re doing this year.”

Even those students who don’t make it across the pool walk away with fun memories and a better understanding of the engineering process.

“Yeah it was not good, we instantly sank, because I got in and it’s not very good when you have a major weight difference,” said eighth grader Preston Miller.

But that didn’t seem to dampen the mood for Miller or his teammates.

“We had a lot of fun working as a team and as best friends I’m glad we got to have this time together.”

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