Minimester Musings: Clocks and Motors

These days, it’s common for kids to learn about coding and 3D printing. Don’t get me wrong – I’m glad kids are studying coding and printing.  These are important subjects.  However, I don’t think they should be the only exposure students get to technology during their educations.  Unfortunately, hand-on exposure to physical technology is relatively rare. I believe this is a weakness worth addressing. That’s why I’d like to teach a minimester (or elective or club) called Motors and Clocks.

In this class, students would build working clocks and models of different types of engines.  Students would learn about mechanical engineering and they would also work on important, but sometimes overlooked, skills such as perseverance, organization, following complex instructions and fine-motor skills.

We would start out with relatively simple kits, such as the ones available here and here. If time allowed, we would work our way up to more demanding projects, such as this and this.

Most people have only a very limited understanding of how everyday technology actually functions. I think this class would be an incredibly satisfying opportunity for students to learn about the world around them. More importantly, they would discover that they have the intellectual capacity to understand the complex machines that we rely on every day.


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