The Sixth Grade class at Truro Central School has embarked on the journey of their young lives.
During the fall, they have been traveling to the Cape Cod Maritime Museum in Hyannis to build a Bevin’s Skiff Sailing Rig, which will return to Truro Central School for finishing and a class sail before raffling it off.
The Bevin’s Skiff was conceived as a hands-on math experience by Building to Teach–a program of the Alexandria Seaport Foundation. Special thanks to the Cape Cod Maritime Museum and their wonderful Cook Boat Shop volunteers for being our STEAM partners!
In the student’s own words:
Week 1: October 1, 2105 ~ Museum Tour & The Boat Bottom
Our first visit to the Cape Cod Maritime Museum began with a tour of the museum exhibits (nautical fine art collection, scrimshaw and the actual boat building shop of Hyannis boat builder “Pete” Culler.) We then visited the Cook Boat Shop and met some of our boat building teachers–Pete Cross, Don Stucke, Whitney Wright, Bill Cook and Jesse, a high school senior volunteer. The bulk of our day was spent learning about some of the tools we will be using and using them to get the bottom of our boat ready for the “shop fairies” to have cut and ready for us when we return next week.
This week we arrived as boat builders–ready to get our hands in the sawdust and pound some nails! Pete demonstrated how to efficiently hammer a nail with tips on how to avoid your fingers. We spent time practicing our newly acquired skills using a tape measure to create reference lines for the chines, stem and center frame. By the end of our day in the Cook Boat Shop, the stem and center frame were glued and nailed in place. It’s looking like a boat!
Week 3: October 15, 2015 ~ Transom and Chine Logs (Chines)
It’s Week 3 in the Cook Boat Shop and we arrived ready to attach the transom and chine logs (chines) to the sides of our boat. This week Whitney gave us lessons in using a hand saw and plane. It’s definitely looking like a boat as we drilled, sawed, glued, nailed and then did it again on the other side of the boat. We finished the day by beginning to plane the chines to match the plane of the bottom of the center frame–getting ready to attach the bottom to the chines.
Week 4: October 22, 2015 ~ Attaching the Bottom
Week 4 in the Cook Boat Shop concluded with our boat looking like an actual boat. The bottom has been glued and nailed into place and work for preparing the sides for the ribs is complete. We are definitely working and communicating as a team! Check out the video of us flipping the boat over. All hands on the deck!
It’s Week 5 in the Cook Boat Shop and our 6th grade boat builders are really beginning to work as a team. Bruce gave a great lesson on planes and how to use this helpful tool before we got to work planning the bottom of the boat so it sat flush with the sides. We also installed the ribs. The day concluded with the installation of the seat risers which sit on the ribs. It really looks like a boat!
Week 6: November 5, 2015 ~ Keel, Skeg, Quarter Knees, Ribs
This week we worked on all sides of our skiff. A mahogany keel and skeg were glued and screwed to the bottom. The quarter knees were installed in the stern. All of the ribs were sawed off and sanded. We also cheered on Wes and Terri, who just finished building their own modified skiff, and launched it for the first time in Hyannis Harbor!
We are full “STEAM” ahead during Week 7 at the Cape Cod Maritime Museum. This visit began with a preview of our mast. During the week, Don glued two 2x4s together and eventually we will have to plane it down so that it takes on its rounded shape. We ventured into the boat shed to work on laying out the configurations for the rudder and daggerboard. The seats were measured, cut and sanded. Finally, work began on beveling the rudder and daggerboard. Bruce also taught a couple of students how to use Swedish fids to splice line.
After a two week break for Family/Teacher Conferences and Thanksgiving, the boatbuilders are back in the boat shop! We made some remarkable progress this week–the stem was cut, gunnels (gun rails or side rails) installed, mast partners installed at the bow, and seats customized and screwed to the seat rails. Sanding continues to be an ongoing project as well. Perhaps the highlight of the day was when the center frame was cut from the boat. She now sits on her own, her shape held together by the boat herself!
Photos compliments of the Truro Middle School and Cape Cod Museum Trail.
To view video of the boat building project, please click here.
To visit the Cape Cod Maritime Museum online, please click here.
To watch how you can build your own boat at the museu, please click here.