On 5 December 2017, the Toronto Regional Skills Ontario Cardboard Boat Challenge was held at L’amoreaux Collegiate. MGCI sent two teams, each consisting of four people, from the Grade 12 Auto class to participate in the event.

Students participating in the Toronto Regional Skills Ontario Cardboard Boat Challenge. Photo: Patrick George

The competition has been held all over Ontario for over twenty years in an effort to test students’ teamwork, problem-solving and design skills, and creativity. Teams were required to prepare and submit their boat designs before the competition. During the two-hour long construction period, the students built their boat based on the designs. They were given two sheets of corrugated cardboard, each four feet wide and eight feet long, as well as duct tape. On their boats, teams were also required to write down four careers in the skilled trades and technologies, and members in the group were required to speak about each career during the judging period.

The boat was then put through two challenges: a race and a weight competition. During the race, members of each team paddled their boat across the length of a swimming pool in timed heats. Judges determined the maximum weight that each boat could withstand for a full minute in the weight competition. Overall, each team was judged on the planning and design, quality of construction, visual appeal, teamwork and team spirit, knowledge of essential skills, safety and cleanliness, and the performance of the boat on each challenge.

One team from MGCI, whose boat was able to sustain 613 pounds, placed second in the weight challenge. The team also placed fourth overall out of thirty-one teams, missing third place by just 1.2 points. “We worked hard in class to prepare and overcome our challenges,” said Abdul Shafey Khan, a member of the team. “We faced some issues during the competition, but solved them quickly because we were prepared.” The other team from MGCI finished in twentieth place overall.

The students enjoyed the experience, citing that they learned many skills in designing throughout the process. “These skills will be helpful for our future careers, such as mechanical engineering,” said Kabisa Nithiyananthavel, another student from MGCI who participated in the challenge.

The top three teams from each region are invited to the Secondary Provincial Championship in March, held in Waterloo.