Campton Elementary School 8th Grade

"Hope It Floats Program"

Boat Building with Students

James Gleich / Instructor & Mentor

Welcome to our "Hope It Floats" Boat Building Program. Each winter, students from the 8th grade class work together to build a 12' canoe. Using hand tools and elbow grease, students transform a pile of wood and fabric into a working, functional vessel. Will it float?

This project is a collaborative "STEAM" (Science, Technology, Engineering, Art, Math) project designed to integrate most areas of the eighth grade curriculum into a real time, real world opportunity for the students. Students experience a truly hands-on approach to problem solving and material manipulation. Students track their progress through photography and video development. After the boat is finished, students are introduced to advertising as they raffle it off as a fund raiser for the eighth grade class field trip at the end of the academic year.

The majority of the materials for each boat are donated by local businesses and community members. If you are interested in or would like to help out this program through material donations please contact Jim Gleich (

Our thanks go out to everyone who has donated material, purchased raffle tickets, and who have helped make this program happen. To the faculty and staff at Campton Elementary School, especially Mr. George and Mr. Hamnett, thank you for your continued support and flexibility.

2017 Skin on Frame Canoe

12' "Nimrod" Model,

2018 Stitch and Glue Canoe

12' Little Kate Model, Selway Fisher Design

2017 Hope it Floats boat building

2017 Boat Building Video

This is the culminating video of the first year of the program. Everyone discovered that the boat does float. As a side note, the boat was raffled off and was won by one of the eight students from the school.

2018 “Hope It Floats Program” CES 8th Grade Canoe

2018 Boat Building Video

As a side note, one of the student builder's grandparents won the boat.

2019 Boat Building Photos, (Video to follow).

Getting ready to work

Lashing the ribs.

Attaching the skin on the frame.

Yankee Screwdriver at work. attaching the rub-rail.

2019 Campton 8th Grade “Hope It Floats Program”

2019 Campton 8th Grade "Hope It Floats Program." Slideshow

"Hope It Floats Program" Donors (to date)

Without the their help, we would be up a creek.
  • King Forest Industries, Wentworth (clear pine boards)
  • White Mountain Fiberglass, Rumney (fiberglass)
  • Wink Farina in memory of her husband Bernie Van Knowe (2019 project, Bernie's Dream)

Boat Building Links