UHS Marine Science Department Hosts its First “Walk on Water” Competition


Sydney Gaw

UHS Marine Science students attempt to walk across the UHS pool with their shoe design during the class periods of Jan. 12-13. The competition stimulated students’ knowledge in physics through a hands-on project.

Tracy Le, Staff Writer

In January, UHS Marine Science students were tasked with the impossible: to walk on water. The assignment, in which students were given two weeks to design and build their water-walking “shoes,” was part of a final project challenging students to apply their knowledge of water density to their flotation device. The Marine Science Department hosted its first “Walk on Water” competition to give the assignment a competitive aspect. Preliminary rounds took place on Jan. 12-13 during class periods, in which the group to make it across the pool in the fastest amount of time or travel the furthest distance moved onto the final round held on Jan. 24. Over 180 Marine Science students across eight class periods participated in this first-of-a-kind competition.

One junior, Lauren Doornbos, detailed the collaborative preparation leading up to the preliminary round.

“I thought my group worked well together,” Doornbos said. “We had a lot of fun brainstorming what would work and trying different ideas out.”

Many considered the event a success, as the project brought significant engagement from Marine Science students in their creation of numerous shoe variations.

“For its first year, I thought [the competition] went pretty well,” UHS Marine Science teacher Mrs. Ruby-Anne Lopez said. “There was lots of student engagement and investment — not just money, but students invested in doing the project.”

Doornbos recounted the unexpected number of shoes which sank during her class period’s preliminary round and the ensuing laughter which was embraced by many.

“​​I liked when we all tested out the shoes,” Doornbos said. “Most didn’t work very well, which was funny to watch, but it was cool to see the people whose shoes worked make it across the pool.”

In the end, there could be only one victor in the UHS Marine Science Department which went to a group in Mrs. Lopez’s 6th-period class, consisting of seniors Noah Chin and Kuan Fu and juniors Carter Wen, Preston Murphy and Brooke Yeh.

Even though some groups did not achieve the outcome they expected, many had fun constructing and designing their dream water shoes alongside their peers.

“I think I’ve learned what works and doesn’t work and it would be cool to try again and get the shoe to work [next] time,” Doornbos said.

Mrs. Lopez enjoyed seeing her students’ perseverance and determination throughout the competition but wishes more time could be allotted to the construction of the shoes.

“Personally, I would love to do this again next year, but with more time given to students,” Mrs. Lopez said. “Going over basic physics concepts such as displacement would help students understand and be able to build their water shoes much more efficiently.”