Who can resist an adventure complete with build-your-own sea-worthy vessels, ocean launches, crashes on tropical islands, and connections to other cultures? For 5th-7thgrade students in the Pacific Northwest, the Columbia River Maritime Museum’s Miniboat Programdelivers just that. As one of the most exciting hands-on and “brains-on” programs offered in the Pacific Northwest, this innovative program has reached more than 1,200 students in the past three years.
This fall, we're navigating the uncharted waters of COVID-19 and finding new ways to continue this vital program. That’s where the Miniboat Mobile Makerspace comes in. Since we cannot go into schools, for the time being, we've found a way to bring the program directly to the students.
We're seeking funds to cover the cost of a trailer we'll use to deliver the hands-on portion of our program. Every week, students will have a chance to meet us one-on-one in safe, outdoor spaces to design, build, paint, and prepare their boats. This will accompany our weekly virtual visits we'll conduct with each class.
We need $10,000 to purchase a trailer, graphics, insurance, and a small buildout with shelves and racks. Anything extra will go right back into providing even more opportunities for students.
What’s the Miniboat Program?
The Miniboat Program from the Columbia River Maritime Museum in Astoria, Oregon provides a one-of-a-kind educational opportunity that introduces students to marine science, international exchange, and all elements of the STEAM fields of science, technology, engineering, the arts, and math, helping to inspire future careers.
Students cooperatively design, build and launch uncrewed 5ft boats on a journey across the Pacific. Sister schools in Japan and Kiribati launch an identical fleet, ideally headed this way.
Since the program's start in 2017, more than 1,200 students on both sides of the Pacific Ocean have been involved in the launch of 27 miniboats, traveling 64,000 nautical miles (and climbing). The boats are tracked daily, and students are still building on the skills they honed to launch them.
These boats capture the imagination of students taking part and many people from around the world, who encounter the boats, help with a rescue, or simply follow the boats' progress online.