In our land of 10,000 lakes, crafting birchbark canoes is the perfect medium for Alice Smith 5th and 6th graders to practice teamwork and problem-solving through the hands-on building process. Guided by renowned non-profit Urban Boatbuilders of St. Paul in a ‘lab’ setting, students will gain much more than the satisfaction of creating and launching a water-tight craft. Throughout the boatbuilding process, students will put Hopkins’ STEM curriculum to work as they follow building plans, use specialized tools and materials, and work together to troubleshoot. In addition, students will explore the ways diverse cultures, including Native American, have contributed to technology, engineering, and design through watercraft. Boatbuilding is an unconventional yet unique way of engaging students. The end-product – two real canoes – will be available for future paddling and water safety lessons.
“Engaging students in the boatbuilding process is a proven strategy for youth to learn, practice, and apply academic concepts in a challenging and innovative hands-on environment that complements classroom learning. Boatbuilding projects help youth develop 21st Century Social, Emotional, and Leadership Skills that lead to a finished boat and immense pride.” – Urban Boatbuilders
Submitters: Maggie Lund, Mykenna Yesnes