Educational Passages EndeavorAn adventure at sea and on land!
The fourth grader Think Lab students and Communications students are collaborating on an exciting project this spring with a program called Educational Passages. We have the opportunity to customize a small sailboat that will be fitted with a GPS device and dropped into the Atlantic Ocean. Then we will track the boat on its adventure over the sea! This project will connect us with the folks at Educational Passages, Maine Maritime Academy and a variety of community members as we learn about navigation, geography and other cultures around the Atlantic.
We have heard from the Cape Hatteras School for Coastal Studies, and they have our boat! The middle school students are going to study our boat, take photos and then get it back out into the Gulf Stream for us! In the meantime, the four other boats outfitted by schools along the east coast have had adventures of their own. Read the Boat Landings Chart below for an update on our companion boats.

5. 29.12
We have gotten word that our boat was blown ashore by severe storms, beaching it somewhere in Cape Hatteras, North Carolina. We're using the GPS coordinates to find it. Miss Smith has sent an email to local businesses and city workers to see if anyone is able to track down our boat and get it back out in the water.
Later that day:
Miss Smith was overwhelmed by the response! Several folks from county workers to Coast Guard captains to librarians have responded offering to track down the boat and retrieve it! Read the latest in a news article posted on-line by the Island Free Press down in North Carolina!


Our boat was launched last week off the coast of Cape Hatteras, North Carolina along with 4 others! As of today, it is traveling north - we hope it has caught the Gulf Stream so it will travel north along the east coast of the United States, northeast across the Atlantic and then south along the western coast of Europe.
Doug Hoehle, a graduate of Maine Maritime Academy and commercial airline pilot, came in today to talk about navigation in order to help us track our boat on its journey. We learned about latitude and longitude, nautical miles, sextants, GPS devices, knots and how to calculate a boat's speed.
We can't wait to see where the boat goes next! Keep an eye on our boat and the 4 others on the Drifters Website. Our boat's path is marked by a light purple line. When you click on the black arrows in the green place markers, you'll see the boat names and GPS data pop up in a box on the screen.

Next we'll track the boat on the large map hanging in the green wing at YES, calculate our boat's average speed and answer some of our questions about navigation and GPS devices.

student boats on board The State Of Maine waiting to be launched; our boat is on the far left
The 5 student boats on the deck of the Maine Maritime Academy boat, The State of Maine

The "State of Maine" has left port, with our boat on board! Our boat is one of 5 customized by schools along the east coast. We can track our boat on the Drifters Website. Check back frequently to follow the course of the boat. Stay tuned for more links, like the Captain's log!
The Yarmouth Clipper Ship


Think Lab & Communications:We have made measurements of the deck and figured out how to scale down our chosen items as necessary. We wanted people who find our boat to learn about our home, so we included a map of Maine, our state flag and seal, a Maine license plate with the chickadee on it and a picture of our school. We decorated the sail with our boat's name: Yarmouth Clipper Ship. Then we wrote up instructions to tell people what to do upon finding our boat at sea or on land. We did some research to determine which countries the boat might encounter based on water currents and our launching point. So we decided to translate our instructions into 4 languages: English, Spanish, French and Portugese. We also found a selection of photos that describe Maine: animals, food, and places that are unique to our state. We put those on a flashdrive inside a container that is built into the boat's deck and invited those who find our boat to add something into the container that represents their home. We then passed our boat along to Mr. Baldwin who finished building it by adding a keel, sealing the deck and attaching the GPS device.

We have a large map in the classroom to track to route of our boat once it leaves Castine, Maine on the Maine Maritime Academy ship "The State of Maine" on May 9th.


Think Lab: We are brainstorming ideas for the customization of our boat and discussing the variety of ways we'll need to use math to decorate and track our vessel.
Dick Baldwin, the creator of Educational Passages, visited our school today to deliver the boat and explain the project. He took us on one of his solo sailing adventures via pictures and stories! Then he answered questions and generated lots of excitement about the project at hand.
Here are some pictures of his visit:

Check out our Google Doc to find out more about our plans for the customization of our boat and the tracking of our vessel throughout the Atlantic.