The following was submitted to Haverford Patch by The Haverford School.
Every year right before Thanksgiving, Haverford School third-graders learn
the story of the Mayflower. A more recent part of the tradition is a
coordinated science project in Bill Palmer’s science class where each of three
third-grade sections build their own Mayflower boats and then sail them in the
School’s swimming pool.
The project allows Palmer to teach concepts such as the study of matter in all three states, as well as buoyancy, displacement, and celestial navigation. For the latter, he sets up an inflatable classroom planetarium that his students crawl into to learn about the stars.
Each boat’s mast was attached by guide hooks to weighted fishing lines that kept each of the three boats in their lanes. The boys aided the process by using three fans. As their classmates cheered, the wind pushed the boats across the pool. This year, all three classes’ boats were winners because they all stayed afloat as they were propelled across the pool and all three made it to the finish line.