Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Educational cheating

I admit to being a bit of a cheat with a small project I am helping a grade 7 pupil with. Her class (at a Baptist College) was given an assignment to 'Design and Build a Hot Rod'. Individuals could choose between gravity power, solar power or by rubber band/spring/air/
water etc.

This young girl decided to select rubber band power and in her submitted plan showed it being driven by a propeller....bad choice! Her parents couldn't help her and she, although a very pretty girl is apparently not going to end up as an engineer; so Kev was asked to help.

The design was based around a Kleenex tissue box. I bought some balsa wood and constructed the propeller and the framework to support the considerable stress the six 'lackies' would put on the system when wound up. I had a great day trying several configurations and actually got the thing to move. Fortunately, the test of all the vehicles starts on a downhill slope.

Now to justify the cheating. As parents, most people will admit to helping out on their kids' assignments...we did. Secondly, this assignment was set by a teacher who thinks he/she is teaching high school physics. And lastly, I think I can teach her a fair bit by explaining the construction of the Hot Rod, the methods to reduce friction and how a direct drive to the wheels would be more efficient. So there.

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