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Mini-boat Program: Transoceanic Classroom Between Aomori and Oregon

Lil' Big Boat's Launch from Columbia River Maritime Museum on Vimeo.

During the 2017-2018 school year, students from the state of Oregon and Aomori prefecture of Japan are embarking on a scientific and cultural exchange without ever leaving their classrooms.

Five classes in Oregon each constructed two five-and-a-half-foot-long self-righting fiberglass mini-boats equipped with GPS transmitters—one to launch from the Oregon Coast in November and the other to send to their partner class in Hachinohe for launching from the Japanese Coast on December 20, 2017.

Each student was assigned a writing project introducing themselves, their school, city, and state/prefecture. Using these introductions students in each class will be paired with their "MiniBoat Mate" who they will communicate with weekly for the remainder of the year.

While the boats are at sea, students on opposite sides of the Pacific Ocean will track their movements. Using real-time data on ocean currents and weather, students will share their predictions on where the boats will go next, and hopefully create lasting friendships.

Track Boats

The five boats launched from the Oregon Coast are:

s/v Boat-a-Lahti, hull #002

Hilda Lahti Elementary School, Knappa
Grade 3, teacher Melissa Reid

s/v Nishikaze, hull #007

Richmond Elementary School, Portland
Grades 4-5, teacher Jaina Kapranos

s/v Red, White & Blue Crew, hull #004

Otto Petersen Elementary School, Scappoose
Grade 6, teacher Laycee Kinsman

s/v Lil' Big Boat, hull #003

Astor School, Portland
Grade 6, teacher David Nagle

s/v Pacific Lotus, hull #010

Cedar Park Middle School, Beaverton
Grade 7, teacher Heidi VanderHooff

r/v Comcomly, hull #001

The Columbia River Maritime Museum's research vessel