Engineering Students Design, Build and Race Cardboard Boats

Posted: Oct. 8, 2010

Engineering students at Mt. Hood Community College (MHCC) will build two-person boats from cardboard and race them across the campus pond, Friday, Oct. 8, beginning at 1 p.m.

The exercise is part of an annual class assignment to design and build objects using cardboard. Last year, students built full-size, functional furniture, and some pieces are still in use in College offices.

Twenty boats will compete in the contest, according to Andy Dryden, MHCC engineering instructor. They must be made entirely of cardboard, although glue and duct tape may be used for fastening the components together. They have to be durable enough to carry two passengers across the pond and back, and they have to be human-powered. Designs range from futuristic Starship Enterprise knock-offs to simple canoes.

“The purpose of the project is to help students learn strategies for collaborating with others,” says Dryden. “Designing and racing cardboard boats is quite a feat and this assignment throws students into the deep end, so to speak. Nobody is an expert cardboard boat builder in our class, so it’s a pretty even playing field. Engineering students are engineering students because they want to make stuff. As instructors, we like to give them that educational opportunity – and have a little fun with it.”

For information about MHCC’s engineering programs, please visit

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 Last Modified: 10/8/2010 07:37:03 AM