‘WALK ON WATER’: MVMS experiments highlight critical thinking

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Mt. Vernon Middle School’s annual boat competition, called “Walk on Water,” took place just before kids went home for Christmas Break. Students were tasked with the job of developing a craft made out of household supplies and attempting to float it across the pool. They were paired into teams with creative names and themes.

FORTVILLE — In a creative way to test project planning, skill, agility and craftmanship, students at Mt. Vernon Middle School took part in the annual eighth grade “Walk on Water” event.

The students gathered at the school’s pool shortly before Christmas Break to show off their critical-thinking skills that were challanged with each movement their crafts made. The students were tasked with building a piloted craft, one to travel the length of the pool with one team member navigating on top of the float.

In small groups, students used any materials, excluding styrofoam, to construct their float in an attempt to have one team member “Walk on Water” across the pool to the other side — a task far easier said than done.

If the float sunk, so did the team’s chance of winning the competition. Teams did not have an opportunity prior to the competition to test their floats, but rather found out which craft had the right stuff once it was placed in the water.

The project is designed to test the students’ knowledge of problem solving, the scientific method, planning a long-term project, teamwork, and writing a formal lab report.

Students were encouraged to think outside of the box on this project-based learning. Some of the scientific concepts the students had to consider were propulsion, density, energy, energy transfer, Newton’s Laws, and stability.

Many teams got into the spirit of the day and dressed in a theme representing their group. This year, teams were dressed as giraffes, cowboys, pirates, tourists and more, which made the event extra fun, school officials said.

Awards were also given to a few teams for various reasons, such as best dressed. School officials noted the “Walk on Water” event created an atmosphere of excitement and friendly competition, as well as entertainment. This unique curriculum-based event is one of the capstone activities at Mt. Vernon Middle School, officials said.