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Old 06-01-2011, 05:47 PM   #1
earthsciteach
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Default Working with middle school students building foam planes

Probably because of the heat in my classroom at the moment (88 F, 72% rh presently) and the prospect of a long summer away from these 8th grade creatures, I am thinking about having a club for kids to build their own planes from foam this fall. I figure I'll start out by giving them a plan to build from to get used to working with foam. I'm thinking something along the lines of those large foam gliders you can buy at toy stores.

It'll be a good opportunity to talk cg, cL, yaw, pitch, roll, etc....
Then, I'd like to turn them loose on their own design and have them work through that. Heck, maybe could even have them buy a cheap TX and make it RC by the end of the year.

Do you guys have any thoughts or suggestions on working through this with crazed 13 and 14 year olds? Hints/tips/warnings?

Thanks!

All of my landings are three point landings if you count the spinner, too
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Old 06-01-2011, 07:51 PM   #2
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Make sure there are some competitions, best, (and don't forget worst), longest flight (straight line), longest flight, (time), best crash, best paint job. The competitions are endless, but gives them an aim.

I hope your school isn't under the PC thumb, (Politically Correct), where there mustn't be a winner or looser as it may upset their emotional state.

Are they allowed 'sharp implements' (knives) ?

Hope it goes well, I was involved in a school model plane club, but that was back in 1956-58, and I was one of the pupils. Great time.

Ray in Wales
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I walk into a room, and think, 'now what was it that I'm here after?' :o
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Old 06-01-2011, 08:25 PM   #3
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Another educator has been using WaterDog's SlowTabriaCompact (STC) for the same purposes for several years.

It has an awesome build guide, is easy to make, easy to repair and modify. Plus, there are several versions of STC's built for the RC sims including FMS (free) and ClearView ($40).

Last year they built a custom flying field for ClearView that looked just like their school yard. It was very cool.

I recommend the STC for your project.

-- ggunners
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Old 06-01-2011, 10:01 PM   #4
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http://www.modelaircraft.org/education/fpg-9.aspx foam glider to warm them up. http://www.modelaircraft.org/education/priceless.aspx. good luck . Here is the pattern http://www.modelaircraft.org/files/e...G-9pattern.pdf I was not very good in school if they had some classes about airplanes i might have done better. NAAAAAAAAAA good luck joe
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Old 06-01-2011, 11:28 PM   #5
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Thanks for the info, everyone! I really appreciate your input!

Joe-I was a total mess in middle school. That's one of my difficulties. I put up with way too much because the knuckleheads remind me of myself! I think I turned out ok...

Actually, its those kids that don't "excel" in school that I'm shooting for. Ask them to take notes, read a textbook (WORST thing to do, IMHO-stupid textbooks should be used for reference-not as the basis for a class), or write anything and they shut down. Tell them to build something and they run with it! I'm hoping to bridge the gap between creativity/building and math/writing with these kids. Nothing formal. Just a little personal attention and let them have the freedom to create. Unfortunately, that does not fit in the curriculum. I'll have to do it at lunch and after school because we have to be "rigorous" in our instruction and stick to the curriculum. Its all about demonstrating that the school meets "Adequate Yearly Progress" as mandated by No Child Left Behind, the most absurd piece of crap politicians have ever squeezed out their backsides.

Now the politicians, particularly the Republicans (not taking a stance, just stating a fact), seem to be out to disembowel public education. So much of it is done under the pretense of the "greedy teacher's unions." As someone who voluntarily left engineering for teaching, I can tell ya, I took a hefty hit in salary! Haven't complained once. But to hear someone tell me that I am paid too much for what I do is infuriating!

Sorry to get political-I feel like I have to defend the public school system, my job and, in a very real way, the future of the education of this country.

Aside-Harrisburg (PA) School District just laid off 153 teachers and is closing 3 schools. It is an urban district already dealing with the difficulties of educating children in that environment. Tell me how those kids stand a snowball's chance in hell now? Oh, our new gov is trying to cut $1.5 billion from education while adding $1.9 billion to prison funding...

All of my landings are three point landings if you count the spinner, too
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Old 06-02-2011, 09:19 PM   #6
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I was to busy getting in trouble when in school but they did have a building and trades class with a old swede teacher who fired me up one day and cooled my jets.I became a union carpenter then a foremen ,super and now iam the only one in charge of building in my company . It took longer than it should with out a education and they had to hire a girl in my office who could keep track of all the paper work and run the computers but iam learning fast. It is a shame that schools are cutting building and trade clases all over the US, it helps us goofoffs to get a job and make it. joe
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Old 06-02-2011, 09:56 PM   #7
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It's only going to get harder for kids who would excel in a trade to find their way. We do have some really well equipped technical high schools in my area. But taking tech Ed and family and consumer science (home ec) out of middle schools denies kids that opportunity to be exposed an "alternative" to a college bound education. More kids will be graduating with nothing but a high school diploma (if they stick around to graduate) and no direction or skill to get them through life. It's failing a huge segment of kids. But little of the reality of education is understood by politicians who set policy.

All of my landings are three point landings if you count the spinner, too
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Old 06-03-2011, 12:06 AM   #8
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I've had a"Kid's Club" (Mullet Marauder's) for over 10 year's now and it's been one of the most rewarding things I've ever done in my 60 odd years, Let me see if I can come up with a Care Package for you and the Class,, bubsteve


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Old 06-03-2011, 07:15 AM   #9
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I did the same thing some 25 years ago when I was teaching. The differences being that we used balsa and built diesel powered control liners.
It worked well because I chose a simple sheet balsa design ( KK Champ) and the pupils all built the same model initially. These were the days before PC madness and we were able to fly on the school field at lunchtimes. I have been informed that some of those children went on to a career in the aircraft industry so it's well worth doing.
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Old 06-12-2011, 10:04 PM   #10
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Originally Posted by earthsciteach View Post
Thanks for the info, everyone! I really appreciate your input!

Joe-I was a total mess in middle school. That's one of my difficulties. I put up with way too much because the knuckleheads remind me of myself! I think I turned out ok...

Actually, its those kids that don't "excel" in school that I'm shooting for. Ask them to take notes, read a textbook (WORST thing to do, IMHO-stupid textbooks should be used for reference-not as the basis for a class), or write anything and they shut down. Tell them to build something and they run with it! I'm hoping to bridge the gap between creativity/building and math/writing with these kids. Nothing formal. Just a little personal attention and let them have the freedom to create. Unfortunately, that does not fit in the curriculum. I'll have to do it at lunch and after school because we have to be "rigorous" in our instruction and stick to the curriculum. Its all about demonstrating that the school meets "Adequate Yearly Progress" as mandated by No Child Left Behind, the most absurd piece of crap politicians have ever squeezed out their backsides.

Now the politicians, particularly the Republicans (not taking a stance, just stating a fact), seem to be out to disembowel public education. So much of it is done under the pretense of the "greedy teacher's unions." As someone who voluntarily left engineering for teaching, I can tell ya, I took a hefty hit in salary! Haven't complained once. But to hear someone tell me that I am paid too much for what I do is infuriating!

Sorry to get political-I feel like I have to defend the public school system, my job and, in a very real way, the future of the education of this country.

Aside-Harrisburg (PA) School District just laid off 153 teachers and is closing 3 schools. It is an urban district already dealing with the difficulties of educating children in that environment. Tell me how those kids stand a snowball's chance in hell now? Oh, our new gov is trying to cut $1.5 billion from education while adding $1.9 billion to prison funding...
Hey you brought it up. You Tube man, You Tube, but since it's here....

Public education has never been the primary education of those who really learn, and never will be. Interestingly, the more they dump into it, the worse it is. The teachers say that is because the kids are being taught less outside of school. BINGO! Dollars does not equal education, but if you protest the waste, then horrible accusations using bodily dissecting terms are thrown at you. You will also be accused of being aligned with a political party. I was flabbergasted to see that a political party, of all horrible things, was brought up in our dear Scratch and Kit Built forum. Don't worry though, the Republicans won't win this one in the long run, and the opposition will find the funds to teach your kids everything THEY ever wanted them to know and believe. I don't have a party anymore, so these viewpoints do not represent one.

When I moved to this small town with my folks in the late 80's, I met many guys in their late 20's and older who had dropped out early in HS, or even before. I can tell you that these guys are far more educated and literate than most HS grads of today.

I fully agree about the textbook and notes being bad ideas in numerous cases. While literate, I hate to read, and look at the pictures just like the kids. Occasionally I read articles, but only if it is something that I consider interesting. Large media news=lies, therefore not worth the time of day.

The hobby, my skills, and everything I do:

Instilled by family, and everyone BUT the public education system. That's just how it is. For those kids who don't have that, well then go out there and be there family. The idea in this thread of using your time and the hobby to teach kids skills is EXCELLENT.
We should now bring this back on topic, since it is a suggestion that is proven to be productive.


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Old 06-12-2011, 10:17 PM   #11
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You bring up a good point. While I whole-heartedly agree that all kids need to learn the basics of reading, writing, and 'rithmetic, force feeding them this education based on things that are of no interest to them, and in many cases, don't even fit into their universe is ineffective in today's world. Kids do not roll over and accept the "because I said so" reply to their questions. Anyone out there really enjoy reading Silas Marner or Great Expectations? I sure didn't! But give me a book about WWII aviation and I would soak it up like a sponge in a Death Valley rainstorm!

I agree with your detachment of political parties, as well. Don't take my blaming the Repubs for damaging education as support for the dems. The two party system only creates a power struggle that is counter to the best interests as our Great Nation as a whole. Ok, enough politics. Blech!

I do love teaching. The kids are amazing and infuriating all at once! I can't wait to get into scratchbuilding with some kids next school year!

All of my landings are three point landings if you count the spinner, too
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Old 06-17-2011, 12:36 AM   #12
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Default Teaching using rc planes

My name is Jeff Pressley and I have been using models with 7th-12th graders for years. I currently have an enrichment class scheduled next week 6/21/11 - 6/24/11. What if I told you that you can build an electric rc plan that flies 30+ min per charge and cost less than $35.00 minus transmitter. It flies like a .25 size gas trainer, Handles moderate wind and the airframe cost less than 3 to 4 dollars. I have designed this plane and have been using it a couple of years now. I would be glad to send you the patterns and build you some jigs if you are interested. I think what you are going to do is great and do not let anyone tell you anf different. Please understand that there will be no charge for anything offered. I would also be glad to ship you a RTF airplane if you would like. Wattflyer will not allow me to pm you or incude my email address in this post so please contact me if you are interested 910-995-1846
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Old 06-17-2011, 08:02 PM   #13
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jp-Thank you for your offer! I will definitely be in touch. Not sure why you can't pm me. If you are new to the forum, maybe it just hasn't gotten you "into the system," yet.

Glad to have advice from someone who is already doing this! I'd love to see your plans! My email is pmurphy@wssd.k12.pa.us (see if it lets me post that).

I'll be in touch. Thank you, again!

All of my landings are three point landings if you count the spinner, too
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