BLI White Logo


One-Week Summer Program for Pre-High School Students

• BioSTEM Award, 2018, J&J • Top Summer Science Program, 2011-Present, NY Times/ • Top Robotics Program, 2017, RoboLoco • Best Medicine Program, 2018, ParentMap • Top Biomedical Engineering, • Top 101 Summer Camps & Programs, • #1 Marine Bio, 2022, ThomasNet, Xometry • Top Summer Programs, 2023,  •  Best Computer Science, 2023,

Enjoy building models? 
Like to tinker?
 Considering a career in Engineering?
Engineering is a rewarding, intellectually stimulating, and lucrative career track. The path starts early—students must decide during high school whether or not to apply to engineering schools upon graduation. This program gives students the chance to cultivate an existing interest or spark a new passion as they become apprentice engineers and construct a series of boats. Students will have fun in the sun as they explore key principles of engineering with these design projects. They will learn about gravity and buoyancy by making a simple tinfoil boat. They will use everyday objects to create a putt-putt boat with a real steam engine. They will construct foam ships powered by Arduino electronics.


July 29 – August 2, 2024 | Olin/Wellesley, MA

More About: Awards – Research Programs – Sample Week 

Project 1: Tinfoil Barge

Each student received 1 sheet of aluminum foil with the goal of making a boat out of it that will support the most weight. Gravity will pull the ship downward while the force of buoyancy pushes it upward. More and more pennies were added to the boat until it sunk.

Project 2: Putt Putt Boats

A putt-putt boat is a very simple steam engine that is made from household materials such as an aluminum can and plastic straws. With 1 intake straw and 1 outtake straw and a boiler full of water, a candle is lit under the boiler. The candle heats the water and increases the pressure inside the boiler, pushing water out the outtake straw, and propelling the boat forward. After making the boiler, a hull is made from a plastic folder and the boiler is glued in. To observe how different shaped hulls determine the speed of the putt-putt boat, students also carved boat hulls out of balsa wood using apple peelers.

Project 3: Foam Boats

Students made a boat out of ¼” insulation foam with their previously used Arduino electronics. For the foam, the boat design would be scaled down and drawn on graph paper with each individual piece. That way, the maximum amount of foam would be used with minimal waste. Then the pieces are cut, glued, and sealed with silicone. Then the electronics are mounted and the boat will be tested.

Instructor: Charlie Mahoney

Charlie Mahoney graduated with a degree in Technology & Engineering Education. He has teaching experience at two of the highest-ranking schools in Massachusetts. He has been a teacher’s assistant for our three-week Applied Physics & Engineering program for the past three years, as well as for our three-week Engineering Research program last summer. Charlie has extensive hands-on building and engineering experience including blacksmithing, boat building, and woodworking. 

Student Comments from Summer 2023

“The idea of building a boat has been very interesting and fun to build. Using many materials such as brushless motors that we haven’t used before has been exciting.”

“I liked that we had good materials to do the activities. I also liked designing the boats. Charlie is one of the best teachers I have ever had.”

“What I liked was being innovative and incorporating ideas that we had learned into our designs, such as learning about the hulls of a boat which helped me build my catamaran.”

Our Programs are Featured on the National Association for Gifted Children Website

 Note: this page represents our best expectations for the program we will deliver, but is subject to change. We will update this page as new information becomes available.

Join Our Mailing List

Register & Pay for a Program

Apply For a Three-Week Program