It’s sink or swim for physics students

Students compete in Cardboard/Plywood/Whatever Regatta
By: Laura Newell Telegraph Staff Writer
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Students of all ages traveled to Folsom Lake State Recreation Area to test their skills in physics. The third annual Folsom High School Cardboard/Plywood/Whatever Regatta took place recently Lake Natoma’s Negro Bar for a physics lesson. The competition included 22 student teams from Folsom High School, Folsom Middle School, Sutter Middle School and students from Rancho Cordova. “Part of the lesson is to study fluids and why you float,” said Folsom High School teacher Eric Wright. “I emphasize creativities.” The lesson included class studies, boat construction with the regatta and a poster presentation of learned information. The regatta competitions include a drag race to see who can go out and back first, a slalom master, a titanic race or the best sinking race, the best design-construction and the greatest buoyant force. An awards presentation followed. Folsom High School senior and physics student Daniel Scott, 18, was proud of his team’s catamaran boat made out of two canoe-shaped boats hooked together. “We thought one would tip over easily, so we decided to make two,” Scott said. “We did this to maximize the stable buoyant force.” To keep the competition fair, members of the Army Reserve came out to judge the competition. “There are some remarkable boats being built out here, and they are all floating,” said Kyle Keer, water management specialist with the Army Reserve. “It’s great watching all ages work out here, and to see what they could come up with is so impressive.” Keer said he was especially impressed with the middle school students because they were able to keep up with the older students during the competition. Hydraulic engineer Christy Jones also come out to judge the competition with Keer. “It’s just amazing seeing all of the creativity,” she said. Students said the competition was a learning experience. “I thought it was a great event,” said Joanna Turkiewicz, 17, Folsom High School honor physics student. “Everyone took it seriously, but not too seriously. It was a lot of fun.” While some boats floated better than others, parents and students said they enjoyed the entire experience and learned a lot from it. “It’s a really neat challenge for them to be able to apply what they know how to do,” said Donna Thompsom, a parent who watched her Folsom High School honor physics student compete. “You can see the excitement in the kids. They are all cheering each other on.” Moods were as buoyant as the boats. “The kids are all teeth,” said Wright. “We had a good response.” Laura Newell can be reached at