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Old Mar 19, 2014, 03:39 PM
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benedict's Avatar
United States, HI, Waimea
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Some Ideas for School Projects

Every time I hit RCGroups I check to see if there are new posts in this group. It makes me sad when I don't see new ones. (I'm sad a lot these days. )

So in an effort to spark some conversation, I'm tossing out some ideas for participating in or instigating school projects:

Robotics Competitions - A number of schools around here participate in robotics competitions. If anyone remembers Battle Bots, one of the truisms for that competition was that it wasn't the most advanced bot that typically took the win. It was the one with the most experienced driver. If the schools in your area do robotics competitions, consider partnering up with a school team. Act as a mentor if you can. Offer some seat time on some RC cars if possible. It helps to have seat time on the platform they'll be using. But ANY seat time is better than none.

Aerial Mapping - This is one I've participated in in the past. (I'm due again, actually...) Several of the schools here have student-run gardens. The middle school my son goes to has a really large one that continues to grow year after year. About five years back I started offering aerial photography of the garden to help them plan new plots and lay out new irrigation systems. It's been a rewarding partnership, but I'm trying to convince them to start teaching the students how to do the mapping instead of relying on me. It hasn't gained any traction yet, but it would be a neat non-competitive project that would let students from different classes and clubs collaborate (gardening class, science, robotics club, etc.)

Remote Sensing - One of the schools around here has a class that tracks Pacific Green Sea Turtles as part of an effort to build their population and get them off the endangered species list. The class participates in tag and release programs as well as turtle count projects at a couple of the local nesting sites. Aerial remote sensing is a natural adjunct to these efforts. Offering services or offering to act as a mentor is a great way to get involved.

Any more ideas?

Tom
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Old Mar 20, 2014, 02:34 PM
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Joined Mar 2003
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Paper airplanes, - gliding distance and duration competition.

Balsa airplanes, - gliding distance and duration competition.

Foam airplanes, - ditto.

Then same again rubber powered.

Teaches a bit about aerodynamics, lightweight building, and trimming.

Trimming a model isn't just about moving the little switches either side of the transmitter sticks, trimming is a skill that modelers either learn, or just keep buying new planes.
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Old Mar 20, 2014, 05:49 PM
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United States, HI, Waimea
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DOH! Good point. When I was in high school I participated in paper airplane contests. (Totally forgot about that!) I did distance, duration, and landing accuracy.

Tom
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Old Oct 22, 2014, 06:07 AM
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I once ran a class competition for aircraft made from foam meat trays, the kind your meat is packaged on at the supermarket. The aim was distance.

I made an aircraft that resembled a Cessna 337 Skymaster with twin booms and polyhedral wing. I was confident my design would be superior to the students (Year 4's / 9year olds) but I struggled to top the distance the best student designs could do. I think I gained the advantage only by throwing harder.
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Old Oct 26, 2014, 01:06 PM
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I'm a middle school teacher in California. We participate in the Math, Engineering, Science and Technology (MESA) Schools Program and competitions. One of the competitions involves building a balsa wood glider.

Last year's contest involved building a glider that could travel the greatest distance. This year the goal is to remain aloft for the greatest time. It's a great way for students to learn about the dynamics of flight. Here is a link to the rules:

http://mesa.ucop.edu/mesa_day_rules/..._2014-2015.pdf

We also have a well established robotics program. We have been competing in FIRST LEGO League for a number of years. http://www3.usfirst.org/roboticsprograms/fll

We've just started experimenting with multi-rotor "drone technology." When writing my proposal for a grant, the powers that be like the buzzwords "drone" and "technology." Seems to give our endeavor a legitimate educational purpose. Sounds better than, "We just want to fly quadcopters."
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