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Centennial Middle School Floats Boats North

By Bill Schmoker, teacher and PolarTREC Educator

Centennial Middle School students decorating their unique wooden boats.

Almost 180 8th grade Earth Science students at Centennial Middle School in Boulder, Colorado, were excited to decorate float boats this spring! The timing of the project was great, serving as a culminating activity for our Oceanography unit. After the usual work with ocean currents, Mr. Bill Schmoker and Dr. Tina Mueh added an activity about Arctic exploration and polar currents to put our upcoming boat deployment into context. Students also learned about Mr. Schmoker’s Arctic experiences as a PolarTREC teacher aboard the US Coast Guard Cutter, Healy. In 2015, he made a trip to the North Pole aboard the Healy and the first batches of Float Your Boat drift boats were placed on sea ice along the way. Several of these were recovered in subsequent years and we tracked their probable paths with the likely currents responsible for their conveyance to Iceland, Greenland, Scotland, and Canada.

For a custom touch, we sought the assistance of Shop & Technology teacher Mr. Scott Kohla, who set up his laser engraving machine to add our school logo to each boat’s “hull”. Several other staff members pitched in by decorating a few leftover blank boats as well!

We are wishing our boats and their handlers all the best on their upcoming travels, and we’re greatly looking forward to tracking the progress of our float boats while their accompanying drift buoys are operational. We are especially hoping for further news down the line from possible recoveries. Thank you, Float Your Boat, for the opportunity to contribute to the project this year!


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