Integrating Technology and Engineering with a Marine Design Contest and 3-D Modeling: A Significant Highlight of the Competitive Event Is That It Provides a "Real-World" Engineering Design Activity That Is Free and Open to All Area High Schools
Hammons, John, Technology and Engineering Teacher
Boat Design Competition
The Northrop Grumman (now Huntington Ingalls Industries, Incorporated) Apprentice School, in cooperation with several area businesses, sponsors an annual boat-design competition for high school students to increase awareness of the naval architecture profession and the shipbuilding industry.
The competition engages students' math, science, technology and creative abilities and introduces them to engineering concepts, drafting, project planning, and leadership principles. The parameters of the competition challenge students to design a fast and maneuverable boat that will carry three different payloads such as golf balls, sandbags, and crates. The hull must be made from two sheets of 1/8" steel plate measuring 5 by 10 feet. The last constraint is that a 6-inch freeboard, which is the distance between the waterline and deck edge of a boat, must be maintained. During the first stage of the competition, students have to complete and submit a design package consisting of the following items:
* Design history notebook
* Completed calculations spreadsheet
* Design drawings such as manufacturing drawings and loading diagrams
* A nesting plan
In the second stage, all of the design packages are independently judged, the top four designs are selected, and their boats are actually built by Newport News Shipbuilding apprentices. Each of the four top teams compete in "sea trials" on Lake Maury at the Mariner's Museum in Newport News, VA to determine the winning design entry. Sea trials are comprehensive performance tests that are conducted by the shipyards at sea after the completion of a ship's construction and before releasing the vessel to a client or Department of the Navy. A significant highlight of the competitive event is that it provides a "real-world" engineering design activity that is free and open to all area high schools. Since the competition is underwritten by the Northrop Grumman Apprentice School and several area businesses, there are no costs or entry fees to school divisions, teachers, or competing teams.
During the 2010 Society of Naval Architects and Marine Engineers (SNAME) Boat Design competition there were fifty teams consisting of 287 students from across the Commonwealth of Virginia and two teams that entered the competition from other states. Of the 50 teams that entered the competitive event, only 23 submitted completed design packages and were considered for the construction stage of the competition. While half of the entries did not make it to the full competition, this did not mean that their effort went unrewarded but rather reflects that intense competition and rigorous application of math, science, and engineering skills are required by each of the teams to design a boat. It also demonstrated that some teams had difficulty in finishing their designs. Northrop Grumman, the contest sponsor, took the opportunity to carefully review the top competitors' design packages to identify knowledge, skills, and strategies common to the top teams to share with future teams to raise the competitive bar and broaden the field of successful contestants.
As a technology and engineering design teacher at York High School in Yorktown, VA, I introduced my classes to the SNAME Student Boat Building contest. Accordingly, the students were enthusiastic about the idea of participating in the contest and applying skills they were learning in our 3-D modeling and engineering design classes. As our team's sponsor, I assisted and guided each of the teams competing at the highest level of the 2010 boat competition. Of the 23 designs that were considered for the construction stage, four came from York High School, and all of these four ranked in the top eight. And out of these four, two were named finalists, and one won the championship trophy on April 17th, 2010.
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This year was the fourth that York High School had teams participating in the Boat Design contest. …