On Thursday, October 20th, The Afterschool Alliance hosted its annual Lights On Afterschool event, a nationwide celebration of afterschool programs. As a part of this celebration, Gwynn Hughes of the Mott Foundation paid a visit to Boston After School & Beyond partner Community Boat Building to witness fifth grade students from the Young Achievers Science and Math Pilot School learning and applying math and woodworking skills to construct a seaworthy rowboat.
Partnering with Young Achievers, as well as Harvard-Kent Elementary and the Haley School, Community Boat Building fosters interest and achievement in STEM through exposing 4th and 5th grade students to hands on boat building and science projects. Traveling in small groups from their school to the seaport, students in this program experience enriching alternative learning environments provided by the Community Boat Building workshop and Boston waterfront while learning about real life applications of math and science.
During Community Boat Building programs, students work in teams to build rowboats, test the water quality in the Fort Point channel, study the formation of oyster reefs, and complete an oral history project based on Massachusetts’ shipbuilding history. As an addendum to their in-school math curriculum, some students will also track the location of a real ship over the course of the year to study maritime navigation.
By providing students with opportunities to learn in real world settings outside of the classroom, Community Boat Building makes math and science relevant and encourages students to see themselves as budding engineers, biologists, and mathematicians. Through this program, students gain critical experience engaging authentically in STEM practices, setting them up for future success in science and math.
Special thanks to Stockton Reece and the Community Boat Building Team for making this visit possible.