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Duct tape and cardboard = science

The students at Jamaica High School will get to put their science knowledge on the water at the third annual Cardboard Boat Race.
Teams of students construct boats out of cardboard big enough for a student to sit in and race it across the length of the school’s pool.
The race is a project of the school’s science club, but is open to anyone in the school interested in participating.
“It’s great because students get to apply their science knowledge to real life,” said Scott Pecorino, science teacher and faculty advisor for the club.
The students in the contest form teams of no more than six. The teams create drawings of the boats and spend four afternoons working on their boats - a total of about eight hours of labor. Each group works with a faculty advisor who assists the students develop their designs.
The students construct the boats with cardboard, courtesy of P.C. Richards and Son and The Home Depot in Flushing donates the duct tape. The students often decorate the boats with paint, which they pay for themselves.
Pecorino said that he has seen participation in the program grow over the years.
“It started with 25 students and 5 boats, now we have 15 boats and nearly 90 students involved. It’s a real cross-section of the school,” he said.
In past years, students have had themes for their boats and costumes, including a gothic boat made to look like a coffin and a boat with the students dressed like sailors.
Outside of being a great learning experience, the boat race is a lot of fun, for the participants and the student body at large. It is a school spirit type of event.
“The kids like to come and see if the boats will go across fast or if they’ll sink,” Pecorino said.

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