The Weather Won’t Keep Us Down!

Academy Update: Week 21

There’s a fun saying here in Hampton Roads: if you don’t like the weather, wait 15 minutes. This statement definitely rang true last week as we experienced just about all of the extremes: bitter cold, gale-force winds, torrential rain, and even some snow (but no snow days this time!). Bad weather might keep us off the water, but it doesn’t keep us from having a great time. For our Academy program, we use non-sailing days to reinforce foundational concepts in creative ways. Read below to see what our students were up to last week!

6th Grade

For this Spring semester, our 6th grade students will be introduced to new teammates and instructors. While they spent the fall building great relationships with the other people on their boat, we want to ensure that they are benefiting from the diverse experiences of both our students and staff. Sixth graders spent the first part of their day participating in an ice breaker and getting acquainted with their new groups. Afterwards, they participated in an activity called “Build a Boat on a Budget.” Rooted in basic math skills, this exercise requires students to build a boat from resources that they pay for from an allotted amount they’ve been given.* They must practice subtraction, addition, and cost-benefit analysis – but with how much they enjoyed it, we bet they didn’t even realize all the math skills they were using!

7th Grade

Our 7th grade students were introduced to the BoatUS Safe Boater’s Course, which they must complete as a prerequisite for their 8thgrade year. This program, which is a self-paced online course, teaches them essential skills they need to move forward in the program – mainly, maritime safety, rules, and awareness.

7th graders also started planning out teaching topics that they will present to our 6th graders at the end of the Spring session. Each student will pick a foundational sailing skill (tacking, jibing, points of sail, etc.) and create a 5 minute presentation incorporating the three main learning techniques – visual, auditory, and kinesthetic (hands-on). Students will have until the end of the season to put together their presentations, and will present to 6th graders towards the last week of the program.

8th Grade

8th graders continued their work at Tidewater Wooden Boat Workshop, putting the final touches on their rowboats-turned-sailboats! It was primarily a week of sanding, painting, and doing some final measurements to ensure that the angle of the mast and boom are correct. Every week at the Wooden Boat Workshop, students get a lesson in practical application of math skills, and last week was no different! Angles on a boat are critical, so they had to be precise in their measurements to ensure everything lined up. They’ll spend this week finishing up their boats, and test them a little later in the Spring! We’re so excited to see what they’ve built.

*In our Academy program, we build our curriculum to tie-in to the VDOE Standards of Learning (SOL) as much as possible. This exercise directly relates to the essential knowledge and skills of Standard 6.7 in the Mathematics SOL Curriculum Framework.

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