Portuguese Students Connect with MBS Thanks to 6th Grade Sailboat

The amazing journey of the Crimson Voyager, Morristown-Beard School’s 6th Grade sailboat that was launched in 2015 through the Educational Passages program, is now enabling MBS students to connect with their peers in Portugal. 

This fall, students from the Escola Básica D. Pedro I in Canidelo, Vila Nova de Gaia, Portugal sent a video to Morristown-Beard School showing that they are repairing and planning to relaunch the boat. They are also hoping to connect with the current MBS 6th Grade Class through Skype.

Launched a few days after Christmas in 2015, the Crimson Voyager was initially recovered off the shore of Cadiz, Spain on April 17, 2016. The boat was brought to the University of Cadiz, where it was repaired and repainted. It was later re-launched off Madeira and recovered in Porto, Portugal. It was taken to the Escola Básica D. Pedro I in northern Portugal since they are part of the “Blue School” program — a school that actively engages its community in the understanding of the ocean and its influence on our lives while not forgetting our own impact on the ocean. 

The idea to launch a 6th Grade sailboat each year came from former MBS trustee and parent Joe Robillard, who read about the Educational Passages program in a sailing magazine. The program educates youngsters about ocean winds and currents by launching unmanned boats built by vocational high school students in Maine. Each boat is equipped with a GPS that transmits to a satellite so the students can track its journey on the web.

“After I finished the article, it took about three seconds for me to pick up the phone and see if we could bring this to Morristown-Beard School,” said Robillard, whose idea was quickly embraced by Headmaster Peter Caldwell and Middle School teacher Lisa Swanson. 

“In addition to teaching students about ocean currents and wind, the project is exciting because it provides a backdrop to teach everything from physics to world languages,” said Mrs. Swanson. 

A significant aspect of the project hinges on the hope that students can connect with their peers across the globe when the boat reaches a foreign shore. When The Crimson Tide was retrieved off the coast of Guernsey, for example, it set up exciting new learning opportunities as MBS students connected with students there via Skype. Middle School French students also began an ongoing pen pal adventure with students from France after The Crimson Tide landed in Les Sables-d’Olonne. 

Subsequent MBS sailboats have landed in Spain, Florida, the Shetland Islands, and the Orkney Islands in Northern Scotland.

Stay tuned for updates!

 


 

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