A is for Art and the America’s Cup
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This week for America’s Cup Endeavour, we are looking at the A in STEAM, which stands for Art. It is often forgotten but exists across nearly all STEAM activities, it is used in elements of the design, reflection, measurements and shapes.
Within the programme there are key design and engineering components that require innovative and artistic thinking. The buoyancy module and creating a buoyant object requires a creative and adaptable design. There are several successful designs and by using clay the students can shape, adapt, test. The concept really allows the students to get creative and experiment, as there is no wrong shape.
However, success is measured by the amount of marbles held. Adding to the art and design, students also test and experiment with cutting out shapes for creating their anemometer (wind measuring device). This includes the artistic design process and how they think their device will look. Shapes are key and often an asymmetric shape is better than a symmetrical one particular for the paddles.
You must not forget that the vast majority of AC Endeavour students have never sailed before, some have never been on the water.
Each week students are required to draw an image at the start of the week of what they perceive they are going to do over the next five days. Students will often draw an image of themselves on a sailing craft and the details in this image are really fascinating.
First and foremost, there is no wind taken into account and the students are usually sat on the wrong area of the boat. The next common theme is that none of the boats is “floating”; they usually sit many feet above the water or do not include water at all. Many of the key mechanics and components are also missing and this highlights the lack of understanding of the mechanics of the vessel.
At the end of the week the students then draw another image. The change is quite remarkable. Everything is labelled and the boat is now connected to the water. They have a mainsheet and there are key components connected. There is also a variety in design of hull, whether a catamaran or monohull.
Something that the instructors pick up on is that they show an understanding of where they are in the world, how big Bermuda is and the ability to look back on land really is eye opening for children.
The final piece of art comes in the form of shapes and measurements. Whether it is measuring sail and the sail surface area, or the different shapes of each sail. Some of the students learn what a measurement is.
They often point at a ruler; however, measurement is a means of measuring something consistently. That could include a shoe. For example, a sail may be a total of 68 shoes. Shapes also come into play with the hull design and, critically, the America’s Cup hydrofoils. Students will look at shapes of different hulls and start to build a creative understanding for efficient shapes that reduce drag.
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