Keeping Afloat
On the morning of the last day of the four days with Outward Bound, four teams of students and faculty were given several large plastic oil drums, lengths of rope, and pieces of wood. Their goal was to build a raft that would float on the lake at Clearpool and maneuver a course set out for them. At first, the engineering students thought they would build one giant raft; then one group wanted to be unusual with a circular raft; still another devised a pulley system to assist their rafters.
Here, the problem-solving skills and hands-on physical talents of the engineers came to the fore. Each of the four groups built a raft that not only floated, but also supported anywhere from two to six students. Some were neat looking, others rather messy. One had a pulley, one had kick power from two swimmers hanging on the back. Each required ingenuity, discussion, expertise, teamwork, and mutual trust, especially for those afloat on them in the middle of a lake.
(go back home)