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.
The Scenario and Challenge: The challenge in this project is for students to apply their knowledge of physics to a real-world design of a racing sailboat by showing that they understand how a keel and sail affect speed and stability.
The Driving Question: How can we apply our knowledge of Newton's Laws and sailboat design to design a racing sailboat?’
Project Focus: This project focuses on the ability of students to apply physics concepts to physical models and constructions.
The project addresses Next Generation Science (NGSS) and Engineering for Physics, as well as Common Core State Standards (CCSS) for collaboration and communication. The project is not intended for students to meet the full expectations of the course-level standards through this one project.
The project also encourages students to use online resources to research and examine the sailboat racing industry and the technology issues associated with racing design.