Hovercraft experience offers more than STEM fun

Gracyn Cantine, Volney Elementary School fifth-grader begins a test run of her team’s hovercraft device, created during a recent day-long workshop under the guidance of educational consultant Matthew Chase.

VOLNEY - Struggles, tears and frustration transformed into high-fives, cheers and smiles by the end of the day-long Hovercraft Project each of the Fulton City School District (FCSD) elementary schools recently hosted.

Guided by consultant Matthew Chase, fifth-graders throughout the district were placed in random groups where each team member was assigned designated roles. Students were challenged with science, technology, engineering and math concepts as they also experienced trial and errors of several life skills. The full-day experience, housed in each of the schools’ gymnasiums, involved the planning and execution of the working low-friction hovercraft devices.

Students were asked by Chase to log data with a variety of test runs and any changes made to the hovercrafts. Aside from the importance of radius, diameter, movement, machines and other academic lessons, teachers at Volney Elementary said they observed the ultimate success: teamwork, perseverance, encouragement and full participation.

The teams of students competed with one another, and both teachers and administrators even got in on the hovercraft ride fun. Volney fifth-grader Evan Calkins served as team leader for his group, to which team members said he excelled in providing motivation and confidence to succeed. He, in turn, applauded his peers for having measured accurately and how they created the perfect circle for the hovercraft skirt.

The Hovercraft Project was brought to FCSD’s elementary schools, thanks to the Center for Instruction, Technology and Innovation’s Arts-in-Education program.

Johnson Newspapers 7.1

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