Help Students at Springhouse Learn Math, Science, and Life Skills by Building a Sailboat.
We are a small, private, project-based secondary school located in rural Southwestern Virginia. Here at Springhouse, we are reimagining the purpose and practice of education by fostering the holistic development of youth, young adults, and adults.
To that end, under the supervision of a boat builder with a background in education, Springhouse teens have converted an old dairy barn into a heated boat shop and begun construction on a 22 foot plywood sailboat of a unique design we're calling the, "Springhouse Skiff."
Every step in boat construction, from lofting and joinery to sailmaking and finish work is being carried out by students, who are continually challenged to learn new skills.
In May, after initial trials in a local lake, students and staff will take the boat to coastal waters for a four-day excursion where they will learn to sail the boat they built.
Springhouse doesn't have a shop or maker space, so we have had to create one. We have the use of an old dairy barn, but it gets pretty cold here in Southwest Virginia, so the students have built a plastic room inside the barn, which we heat with a wood stove. Humble, but functional.
If you listen, you can hear the kids belting out the old sea shanty, "Away Rio" as they nail away.
The boat we chose to build was our adaptation of a flat bottomed skiff, designed by Phil Bolger. We made it 50% larger and multi masted to accommodate a big crew, all of which want to help sail the boat.
Back in the classroom, the students at Springhouse are learning math and science in a program we designed as an academic counterpoint to the practical work that is going on in the boatshop.
Through modeling all aspects of a sailboat, students are learning algebra, geometry, and science.
Please donate and help us bring this project to completion!
Help us get a set of Life Jackets
Springhouse School doesn't have its own set of life jackets. If we raise $3,000 we can purchase a set of life jackets that the school can use on this trip and long after.
Build Another Boat
The Springhouse Skiff won't hold the whole school at once. If we raise $3,500, that will provide us the funds to build a second boat. This one may be a slightly smaller, simplified version, but picture a dozen kids on two boats, boiling down the bay on a stiff breeze with bones in their teeth (the boats, not the kids). This is the stuff of dreams.
Risks and challenges
The main challenge is moving forward with the project in a timely fashion, keeping construction on track, while at the same time, taking the time to let students get the most out of their learning. The educational power of making mistakes cannot be overestimated. Our timeline must provide the necessary slack to allow for these learning opportunities while still keeping us on track for our completion date.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
- (30 days)