STEM Center begins boating program

Published 5:13 pm Friday, July 12, 2019


Washington Daily News


The Inner Banks STEM Center’s middle school boating program is underway, and participating kids are learning the ins and outs of boating, including the physics behind boat hulls and scuba diving.

“They learn about the physics of why boats float,” STEM Center president Al Powell said. “They learn about buoyancy, hypotheses and concepts, but in a fun way. We interact that with leadership, team building, fitness, diet and nutrition, stuff like that.”

The STEM Center’s updated summer program split its typical holistic curriculum in half, resulting in separate programs for aviation and boating. Monday kicked off the Center’s two-week boating program.

Jim Gardiner, the owner of the boatbuilding business Compmillennia, started the program strong with lessons on boatbuilding, including a tour of his facility, the drafting process and the distinction between different hull types. He then led the group’s first major project: choose a hull type and create the fastest foam boat.

Participating kids also had opportunities to visit the local U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary, to learn boating safety, scuba diving and more.

The boating program is just one of many at the Center, all of which focus on giving local children opportunities to learn about potential careers, particularly in STEM fields.

“It’s fun, and it gives a lot of opportunities,” said 15-year-old Brianna Bland. “I’m speechless — it’s really cool. Yesterday we saw the Coast Guard, and now I’m thinking of doing it. … I’ve learned a lot this summer.”

UNDER WATER: Snorkeling students were given all the necessary gear to experience what lies beneath the surface. (Sabrina Berndt)

FROM BLOCK TO BOAT: The students created boats by cutting them out of foam blocks and sanding them to make them as smooth as possible for the speed competition.

REMOTE CONTROLLED: During the two-week aviation camp, participating kids drafted and created remote control cars using 3D printers. (Sabrina Berndt)

AERODYNAMICS: Led by Jim Gardiner from Compmillenia, the kids learned about the differences between hull shapes in preparation for a boat competition where the fastest boat won. (Sabrina Berndt)

JUST KEEP SWIMMING: The group learned about scuba diving and snorkeling on Friday, thanks to Inner Banks STEM Center’s partner, Rum Runner Dive Shop. (Sabrina Berndt)