Washington Evening Journal
111 North Marion Avenue
Washington, IA 52353
MT PLEASANT — Students enjoyed a sunshiny day on the pond, or better yet, in it.
Math and science teacher Dale Shultz sent his students out into the lake on hand crafted boats made of cardboard.
That’s right cardboard.
This is not the only unconventional education choice Shultz has made.
In 2010, Shultz began his teaching career with Mt. Pleasant High School after being a software engineer.
He took the roundabout way of becoming a teacher by obtaining his Bachelor of Science in math education from Mount Mercy College, Master of Science in physics from the University of Illinois, and a Bachelor of Science in physics from Georgia tech.
Now, Shultz spends his time teaching students about things such as buoyancy in physics classes.
For the last 12 years each physics class has been split into groups and challenged to create a boat from only cardboard and duct tape that would withstand floating in the school pond to test their practical knowledge of buoyancy.
For reference, buoyancy is the ability to float in water.
This idea, admittedly, was not Shutlz’s as he simply adopted it from his predecessor.
It is, however, certainly a favorite for the students.
“It is my favorite of all of [the units],” Chloe Bolin said.
Bolin’s group took home the record for the event this year by floating for 35 minutes.
“I was getting kind of hungry,” Bolin said was her reason for finally coming back to shore.
Bowen Davis, however, challenges the legitimacy of Bolin’s win.
“I only got out because Mr. Shultz told me to,” Davis said. “I could have went a minimum of three hours, but I guess we’ll never know.”
Davis group’s water craft stayed afloat for an impressive 27 minutes before Shultz called him back.
Many boats did not make it nearly as long. Some went down the moment students stepped into them.
Tyler Johnson, Ethan Sexaur, Zerek Venghaus, and Zac Frazier sank with the second longest time for the class.
The boys had built themselves their very own “Black Pearl.”
The students certainly sounded like they had learned things as they repeated phrases about buoyancy, equations and weight distribution.
Even though Johnson said that he utilize the equation for buoyancy, he thinks the ship sank mostly due to uneven weight distribution.
Bolin’s group focused on making their ship water tight by rotating the seams of the cardboard as they layer many cardboard for the bottom of their vessel.
Meanwhile, the potential winners, who will never know if they won, utilized a two buoy design for their water craft.
Smiles could be seen all around the pond, from those laying back and watching, all the way to those in the middle of the pond post-sinking.