Last week, students of our summer making program built their own toy cars.
Students began by deconstructing toy cars to see how they work. As they disassembled their toys, they had to decide upon the three most important parts of a car, which they would then utilize in their own designs. Most students agreed that the wheels and body were necessary, and with a little guidance, they also learned about the importance of axles, which became part number three.
After this basic exploration, students got to pick their own materials (mostly from recycled junk) to build their own cars. As they worked, they focused on those three basic components: body, wheels, axles. For this project, students used screwdrivers, hot glue guns, and drills. Whenever our students use any sort of power tool, we always ensure that they use safety goggles. (We establish this early on as a class norm.)
Students soon hit challenges with drilling: they didn’t always have the dexterity/strength to handle the drill with one hand, and their object (usually a can of some kind) with the other. This project soon evolved into an exercise in teamwork, all on its own, with students volunteering to stop their own work to help each each other.
When all was said and done, (cars built, and painted), students got to test their inventions by rolling them down a makeshift ramp in head-to-head competitions.