For the USS Constitution Museum’s third miniboat project, we partnered with Hanscom Primary School, a public school on Hanscom Air Force Base in MA. The students are from active duty or retired military families living on the base. The miniboat Warrior was made by the entire third grade in spring of 2023.
April 2023: Ship Design Challenge at the Museum
The third graders visited the Museum for a field trip to kick off the project. Students did our ‘Ship Design Challenge’ program and learned the parts of a ship by touring USS Constitution and building their own sailboats out of household materials, then racing them in our water tank.
Being from military families, many students already had a familiarity with the Ship. One student’s father is a USS Constitution crewmember. Another’s father worked at the US Coast Guard base across the harbor at the site where Constitution was built (she brought her telescope to see if she could spy her dad’s ship). Many other students had been on board for military ceremonies.
April - May 2023: Boats are Prepared
Over five weeks, teams of students assembled and decorated the boats in their school with Museum educators. They filled and attached the keel, sanded and painted, and designed the deck and sails. Throughout, they had mini-lessons on the connections to USS Constitution and asked lots of questions!
Filling The Keel: Students mixed fiberglass resin with sand and proclaimed it looked like “poison honey.”
Attaching the Keel: This team made sure the keel was on straight and tight using epoxy.
Sanding and Painting the Boats: Students chose patriotic colors of red, white and blue! They also painted the hull with an anti-fouling paint.
Sail Design: There were many discussions on the front and back designs of the sail. The front features the symbol for each military branch. The back features the school’s mascot Freddie Falcon, as well as their motto and images of unity.
May 18, 2023: Ceremonial Launch
US Navy tradition dictates a ceremony when a new ship is christened and launched. We did our own version at the dock by USS Constitution. Each student shared a wish they had for our boats, and the commander of Constitution stopped by to give us a special captain’s coin to put in our boat for good luck.
Then we did a sparkling cider toast as the boat was launched into Boston Harbor. Students chanted “break the bottle!” when the sparkling cider bottle did not break against the hull (as is Navy tradition).
July 23, 2023: Delivery to the US Coast Guard cutter Forward
July 27, 2023: Launched by the US Coast Guard
September 16, 2023: Landed on Sable Island, Nova Scotia, Canada
UPDATE: Miniboat was recovered, scroll down to read details.
On September 16, 2023 the miniboat WARRIOR landed on Sable Island.
Seeking assistance with recovering 1.5m uncrewed miniboat named WARRIOR from Sable Island, Nova Scotia
The miniboat is named “WARRIOR” and is part of an educational project from the US, in partnership with the USS Constitution Museum. It was built by students at Hanscom Primary School, a public school on Hanscom Air Force Base in MA.
Students and participants involved in the project are seeking assistance to have the boat brought to a nearby school so they can connect. The GPS is reporting from a beach at 43.953660488129, -59.792833328247 and we are looking for assistance to recover, only if it is safe to do so.
It is an uncrewed vessel, like a message in a bottle. We invite you to read above for the full story. Please contact Educational Passages for more information and if you know anyone that can assist in recovering the boat and bringing it to a school. We will advise and assist with next steps after recovery is confirmed.
For reference, this is what the boat looked like when it was launched on July 17, 2023:
We are non-profit organizations and cannot provide a financial reward for your help. Our intention is to connect children everywhere and promote the love for the ocean. We hope you can help us accomplish this goal, and bring the opportunity to connect children across the ocean with the project.
September 22, 2023: Recovered from Sable Island, Nova Scotia
On Friday, September 22, 2023, Zoe Lucas, a Sable Island naturalist (and long-time resident) found the miniboat and brought it back to safety. The boat sustained some damage of the mast, most likely at landfall, but the goal is to fix it up and relaunch it if at all possible. We also hope to connect the students at Hanscom Air Force Base virtually to the station there, to learn more about Sable Island.
Thank you, Zoe, and thanks for sharing the following photos with us too:
Here’s an update from the USS Constitution Museum Crew: