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Middle school girls test out how well their homemade boats perform in a pool set up in the Swenson Civil Engineering Building at the University of Minnesota Duluth while UMD students and staff look on. The girls learned about engineering by constructing their own motorized boats. (Bob King / rking@duluthnews.com)

An introduction to engineering, with a dash of glitter on the side

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Excitement and trepidation seemed to coalesce the moment Mikaela Smith dipped her creation into the water.

Taking a step back, the soon-to-be ninth-grader at Marshall School pushed a button on her remote control and sent the Styrofoam boat sputtering right into the side of the inflatable pool.

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She was pleased, save for one minor detail.

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