Students Attempt Rowing Cardboard Boats at Annual UH Race

Event Challenges Contestants to Stay Afloat Using their Physics Mettle

More than 100 teens from 17 high schools will put their physics and engineering skills to the test, attempting to paddle boats made solely of cardboard and duct tape without sinking. This third-annual boat race will be held at the University of Houston (UH) April 13. Boat Race 2011

Students from local high schools will spend several weeks applying lessons learned in physics class to build these handmade vessels that are buoyant and stable enough to row more than 160 feet across a swimming pool. The fastest and least waterlogged teams will come away with cash prizes, pizza parties and plaques.

The Boat Regatta competition is intended to encourage students at predominately minority and underprivileged high schools to study physics, chemistry, computer science, mathematics and engineering. It is part of a recruiting effort by the Houston-Louis Stokes Alliance for Minority Participation (H-LSAMP) for UH’s College of Natural Sciences and Mathematics (NSM). The contest is, however, open to all schools and students in grades 9-12.

Boat Race 2011First, second and third place will be awarded $600, $400 and $200, respectively, as well as each receive a plaque and classroom pizza party. There also will be a cash prize of $100 and a plaque for “Most Unique Design.”

The event is part of the Grand Challenges series jointly sponsored by UH’s H-LSAMP, BP and NSM. H-LSAMP is a well-established, federally funded program between UH and local schools with the goal of recruiting and funding minority students who choose to major in one of the so-called STEM disciplines of science, technology, engineering and mathematics. Since H-LSAMP began more than a decade ago, the number of minority undergraduates receiving science or engineering degrees from UH has risen 50 percent.

WHO: High school students racing cardboard boats in a swimming pool
WHAT: Third Annual Boat Regatta at UH
WHEN: 10:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m., Saturday, April 13
WHERE: University of Houston
Campus Recreation and Wellness Center Natatorium
Parking for media will be available across the street in parking lot 20C


Editor’s note: For a video of the event, visit Photos are available to media by contacting Lisa Merkl.

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