NewburyportNews.com, Newburyport, MA

Local News

May 14, 2014

Boats, not books

With 'Math on the Merrimack,' students take skills outside the classroom

(Continued)

Teamwork, data gathering and variability analysis are also developed by Regis’ students who work up problems in the classroom then hit the water with their sextants in hand three to five times a semester.

“The response has been overwhelmingly positive,” Regis said. “Students have really taken to it. Most of them have never been in the water and they are getting into these dories and are learning all these skills. To see them from the first day, when they are nervously getting into the boats to the final day when they are all start jumping in and ready to go. The growth is amazing.”

Junior Caroline Conte had never been in a boat before she took Regis’ class.

“I’m not a huge fan of water, I guess. It freaks me out a little bit,” Conte said. “The first time I was nervous. We were all girls as well. None of us had really been out on the water and we’re not the biggest people as well. We didn’t really know what we were doing and I’m not sure we trusted ourselves that much. But after a little bit, we started to get the hang of it. We never actually got to where we were supposed to be going but, the last day that we went, we actually did pretty well.”

On the other side of the coin is Conte’s classmate, Gordon Stockwood who, along with being an avid boater, works as an apprentice at Lowell’s Boat Shop, the oldest continuously operating boat shop in the country.

“These are real-world examples,” Stockwood said. “You are putting your work that you do in (the classroom) to the test out there. It’s cool to see how you can use this in real life rather than just book work.”

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