Life vests. Check.

Oars. Check.

Cardboard. What?

Yes, the ATEMS 2nd Annual Cardboard Boat Invitational at Abilene Christian University had it all.

The Academy of Technology, Engineering, Math & Science, in partnership with the ACU Department of Engineering and the architecture and engineering firm of Parkhill, Smith, and Cooper hosted the event on Nov. 4. Nine Abilene ISD teams launched their cardboard boats in the ACU swimming pool and embarked on an afternoon of fun and competition.

The invitational, consisting s of both a middle school division and an ATEMS High School division, challenges students to engineer their own boats using only cardboard, duct tape and glue over a span of seven weeks.  This included up to seven one-hour build dates on their own campuses followed by a final build day at the ACU Bennett Engineering Lab on Nov. 3.

After students completed the process of researching, designing and building their boats, they tested them in the ACU pool through speed races and durability challenges. The winners of each of the competitions were recognized and the top team in each division was crowned as division champs.

This event provides an opportunity to build student interest in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math) through a hands-on team-based approach. It reinforces several STEM concepts including linear measurement, volume, displacement, buoyancy and nets, and it also emphasizes the importance of teamwork, cooperation and planning.