DH Guest Post: Wentworth with Ben, SS ReedWreck Construction with M & K

Benjamin poses with the Wentworth Leopard Mascot
Benjamin Poses with the Wentworth Leopard

Benjamin and I attended the “Accepted Student Day” at Wentworth Institute of Technology on April 1.  The MBTA station is about a 7 minute walk from our house. From there, the train took us to Ruggles station, only an 8 minute walk from Wentworth campus.

We attended seminars, went on an extended campus tour, and viewed some of the laboratories. Nice labs!  Wentworth emphasizes a “hands on” approach to learning. I would like to get my own hands on one of those CNC machines myself!

Next, we had a good lunch in the gymnasium, then walked around the different booths for college organizations, and collecting pens.

Benjamin, in a hammock, practices being a hard working student on the quad.
Benjamin Practices being a hard working student on the quad.

Before the afternoon train came, we walked down Huntington Avenue, to Christine’s cousin’s house, less than 1/2 mile away.  I’m sure we were on the correct street, but we had forgotten their house number.

These hammocks are really comfy!
These are Really Comfy!

Meanwhile, M and K had found an interesting pile of reeds on the road near the local grade school. They decided to build a raft out of the reeds.

Benjamin and I arrived back from Boston in the late afternoon. Christine was cooking supper. M and K got me to take them to the pile of reeds, to begin construction.

M and K begin constructing a raft from a pile of reeds.
Reed Boat Construction Begins

At first, the idea was to bundle the reeds together, using twine.  However, we decided instead of using twine, to try and weave the reeds together in a sort of mat.

We all got busy…

K. begins weaving reeds together to make the raft.
K Weaves Reeds
K and M weaving reeds to make the raft.
K and M work on the Raft
M looks at the Ten Mile River, which is moving rather rapidly.
That water is moving Fast!
M and K keep working on the raft.
K continues to work on the reed mat raft.
K busy at work.
M inspects the reed raft taking shape.
M inspects the work
M and K hold up the nearly completed raft.
Almost Done!

Finally, the raft was “complete”.  The SS “ReedWreck” was ready for her maiden voyage!  Since the Ten Mile River was way too choppy for the raft, I carried it to Mechanics Pond for testing.

M and K launch the SS "ReedWreck" into Mechanics Pond
The SS “ReedWreck” is Launched


I was certain the ReedWreck would not hold a person. However, in the interests of Engineering Rigour, I allowed some bouyancy testing.  First K, then M stepped on the raft to see what would happen. Sure enough, the raft was pushed straight to the bottom.

K steps on the raft to perform buoyancy testing.
K performs Buoyancy Tests

By the way, mud boots are wonderful during New England early Spring!

M steps on the raft to see how it floats.
M Performs a Buoyancy Test

K was a bit disappointed that the ReedWreck would not support her weight.  She and M started discussing how make it a better floater. Should they have put the extra “fluffy” bits on the bottom of the raft?  Should they add more fallen branches?

It was time for supper. The ReedWreck was stowed on shore, in an out of the way place. More engineering would have to wait until tomorrow.

M and K discuss how to improve the design.
Engineering Meeting to Discuss Raft Design Details
M stands in the water, examining the raft
M Tests the ReedWreck

Saturday was colder, and raining.  A perfect day for raft testing!  M, K, and I donned foul weather gear, and tromped over to the pond.

K wanted to improve the ReedWreck, so it would hold a person.  I suggested that instead, we see if ReedWreck would hold a cargo.

M found a rock that would serve nicely as cargo. He lugged it over to our craft, and loaded the cargo.  Success!! ReedWreck floated with its cargo!

K launches the raft into Mechanics Pond
K Launches ReedWreck
K launches the raft with a rock as cargo.
The Rock “Cargo” is Loaded
ReedWreck floats on the pond, with a rock as cargo.
Success! ReedWreck Floats with the Rock Cargo!
M and K flash grins as the raft floats behind them.
The Happy Raft Designers in the Rain

K was still a little distraught that ReedWreck would not hold her. I told her, that ReedWreck was a complete success. Just look at what we learned:  Weaving reeds together, problem solving, working toward our goal, and constructing a raft that would take a cargo!

K was happier after that “Dad analysis” of our engineering and construction. But K is still wondering if a larger raft of sticks would work as a boat…


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