SDHS Takes Second in Crab Boat Engineering Competition

Students Win Best Design in Engineering Competition
Posted on 05/02/2017
Stephen Decatur High School teacher Mr. Larry Ryan and his students recently won Best Design in the second Annual Eastern Shore Crab Boat Engineering Challenge last Friday in Cambridge, MD.

The team had been working tirelessly since October to construct their ship and prepare their research report for this very rigorous STEM event in which over 50 students and 8 teams competed. Students received an educational tour of the competition site by University of Maryland Center for Environmental Science faculty.  

All participants received free lunch and a Crab Boat keychain, and SDHS received an award plaque.

The press release from UMES for this event is below: 
Crab Boat Engineering Challenge encourages STEM

PRINCESS ANNE, MD - Blue skies and unseasonably high temperatures April 28 provided ideal conditions for high school students putting their Chesapeake Deadrise crab boat models through the test in the second annual Eastern Shore Crab Boat Engineering Challenge in Cambridge sponsored by the University of Maryland Eastern Shore.

It was the culmination of the academic year’s work—one that had the aspiring engineers putting in the “beyond the bell” time, according to advisors.

Participating teams were tasked with working through the engineering process like professionals to design and operate “sea-worthy and functionally sound” remote-controlled watercraft, said Dr. Tyler Love, UMES’ coordinator for the event and an assistant professor of technology and engineering education. During the competition, the vessels raced in the University of Maryland Center for Environmental Sciences’ boat ramp to collect the most miniature crab baskets in an allotted timeframe.

“Students applied their knowledge of STEM concepts such as environmental impacts of crabbing, the history and design of the Deadrise workboat (a wooden-hulled workboat characterized by a small cabin, open cockpit and a large open work area aft), buoyancy, stability, manufacturing processes, electronics and transportation technologies,” Love said.

The event grew from last year, Love said, with eight teams and some 50 students participating in the 2017 event; some traveling from Maryland’s western shore and Virginia’s Tidewater area. “The event aligns with the university’s outreach mission, providing valuable learning experiences for area high school students and teachers while serving as a recruitment tool for the university.”

Teams were judged on their boat designs and performance, a written report showing their mathematical calculations and addressing the environmental impacts of crabbing, and responses to questions, Love said.

Old Mill High School in Millersville, Md. came in first place with Virginia Beach City Public School’s Advanced Technology Center taking the number two spot and sportsmanship award. Stephen Decatur in Berlin took home the best boat design, Love reported.

UMES organizers collaborated with Kelvin® Educational, which donated the boat motors, University of Maryland Extension 4-H STEM agents who helped judge entries and UMCES faculty. Technology and engineering education students at UMES helped facilitate the event and manufactured the award plaques and souvenir 3D printed keychains.