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Grade 9 Students of Whistler Secondary School Float Down The River of Golden Dreams in Cardboard Boxes

We all remember the days when you sat in your high school science class, looking longingly out the window to the great outdoors, with opportunity in mind, what could you be doing out there. The course content was dry at best, and the textbooks were heavy in your backpack, though you never read them anyway. However, there would be a few special days every year where you would be released from the confines of the classroom to do experiments, make observations, and test the science of the real world. 

Experiments like the egg drop would take whole classrooms full of students to the stairwell to test their egg protection contraptions. Peanut butter, styrofoam, bubble wrap, and parachutes were all familiar sights during these experiments. But what if you could take these experiments one step further, making them more engaging and exciting for the students? 

The Project

The grade 9 students of Whistler Secondary were given this opportunity on June 15 to float their projects down the River of Golden Dreams. Their teacher Peter Train assigned his class the task of building their own cardboard boats to float down the River of Golden Dreams. Groups of 2-3 students had two weeks to design and build their watercraft before putting them to the test. 

Everyone was surprised at how well the student’s cardboard boats floated. Many boats passed the first test down a short section of the river and across the finish line. Then they created a second longer challenge for extra marks. The students needed to float further down the river testing the structural integrity and durability of their class project. During this float, many boats began to deteriorate as the water permeated the cardboard, hindering their buoyancy and structural integrity. Many teams used duct tape. This strategy would lead them to their successful floats. 

Backroads Whistler offered assistance by providing boats for the teachers and supplied a few staff for water safety just in case one of their cardboard boats did not make it down the river. Backroads advised on river conditions and where would be best to float the river for the highest likelihood of success.

Check out the news story here!

Alta Lake Environment

All boats that went into the river that stayed afloat or sank came back out of the river the same day. The Alta Lake environment is important to all the Whistler Secondary students and the community. It was crucial that no waste from the experiment went into the River of Golden Dreams ecosystem and all watercraft were disposed of properly.

Backroads is stoked to be a part of this exciting project that is helping grow the minds of the next generation, and we thank the Whistler Secondary School for allowing us to be a part of the experiment.