High schoolers explore naval architecture, 3D printing

Tuesday, August 08, 2017

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High schoolers explore naval architecture, 3D printing

Over a week at SUNY Maritime College, about a dozen students from maritime-themed high schools learned about physics, chemistry, 3D printing, navigation and computer-aided design. They used what they learned to build, test and race cardboard boats, and to design, print and test 3D plastic models.

The participants in the annual Summer STEM Academy lived on campus and learned from Maritime faculty. The taste of life on a campus came just as many of them are beginning their college search.

“These students already have an interest in the maritime world so SUNY Maritime is uniquely placed to give them a taste of college life and a chance to explore what they are learning in school more deeply,” said Rohan Howell, dean of SUNY Maritime Admissions. “Obviously we would love them all to apply here, but this camp really gives them the chance to explore what college will be like wherever they go.”

The students came to Maritime from three high schools: Urban Assembly New York Harbor School, Philadelphia’s Maritime Academy Charter School and Western New York Maritime Charter School in Buffalo.

With generous funding from The TK Foundation and additional support from Maritime College, the came was free to the students. In addition to academics, the students went to see a Broadway show and to explore Manhattan.

Over four days, class and lab lessons were designed to build on students’ knowledge. In chemistry, they began by analyzing seawater and then explored the physics of floating and what kinds of shapes float, and carry loads, most effectively.

In another session, they explored some basic computer-aided design programs. The students conceived, designed and built model boats that were printed on a 3D printer and tested in water tanks in the laboratory.

In the afternoons, they spent time at the campus waterfront, kayaking, paddle surfing and power boating. They spent two days building one-person boats out of cardboard, duct tape and saran wrap before racing them. Though one flipped and a few took on water, two did manage to complete the course without capsizing.

Before receiving completion certificates from Capt. Catie Hanft, deputy commandant of cadets, the students presented their final project designs to an audience of their peers, parents and Maritime faculty and staff.