Lil’ Big Boat
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 have been constructing two MiniBoats each. One to launch from the Oregon Coast and the other to send to their partner class in Hachinohe for launching from the Japanese Coast.
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 up with their “MiniBoat Mate” who they will communicate with weekly for the remainder of the year.
One of these boats sponsored by the Columbia River Maritime Museum, the “S/V Lil’ Big Boat” was built by Mr. Nagle’s 6th grade engineering class during the month of October.
November 7, 2017 - Launched
was launch via the P/V Columbia approximately 5 miles off the Oregon Coast on November 7, 2017. You can view the deployment video at https://vimeo.com/242286095 or watch here:
Mr. Nagle teaches at Astor Elementary School in Portland Oregon. In the words of Nate Sandel at CRMM who organized and made it all happened, “Well, we have sent our first born off to college!”.
November 25, 2017 - Landed near Vancouver Island
On the morning of 25 November, after making several close approaches to islands off the north west tip of Vancouver Island and traveling well over one knot a total of 930 kilometers in 17.5 days, the Lil’ Big Boat evidently shipwrecked on a remote cluster of islands called the “Tribal Group” and was not been heard from since. Nevertheless, she will be remembered as the first of many boats prepared by CRMM and participating schools providing weeks of hour by hour entertainment for not only the young students of Oregon but the many mariners of the region as well.
January 26, 2018: The CRMM program was highlighted in Japan news channels: https://www3.nhk.or.jp/nhkworld/en/news/videos/20180126122726093/
The Columbia River Maritime Museum’s Miniboat Program was developed in partnership with Educational Passages and the Consular Office of Japan in Portland. Students in the Pacific Northwest build unmanned sailboats equipped with GPS transmitters, one to launch from the coast of North America and the other to send to their partner class in Japan for launching. 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.
The mission: to get the boats to cross the Pacific Ocean.
The outcome: through hands-on activities and meaningful opportunities, students are enlightened and empowered.