Welcome to the Physics of Sailing Project, a six-week high school Physics project designed in a project-based learning (PBL) format. The project focuses on the application of Newton’s Laws in sailboat design.  Over a six-week period, this project mixes team-based student inquiry, direct instruction, and teacher- or student-directed activities.

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Special thanks to Grant Simmer, Oracle Team USA, CEO and to Chris Ray for generously donating his photographs.

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Physics of Sailing Project Introduction

by Todd A. Sherman (ShermanTank)

In this project, students use their knowledge of physics concepts and Newton’s Laws to design a sail and keel for a racing sailboat. The design culminates in a digital model or poster that shows how the sailboat will be fast, but stable, the two constraints in race boat design. The project may end with a competition judged by knowledgeable designers, if available. Ideally, the presentation will be digital, in the form of a Google Sketch Up or AutoCAD design (free for education). If technology is not available, students can create posters to illustrate their designs. The plans that accompany the model must include key physics information showing that students understand how physics influences the forces on a keel and sails.
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Physics of Sailing Project File

by Todd A. Sherman (ShermanTank)

Physics of Sailing Project PDF for downloading.
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