The Hovercraft Project Exploration
The Hovercraft Project is a highly integrated STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Art, Mathematics) project that incorporates leadership challenges, team-building, problem solving, data collection and analysis, and more benefits than can be listed. Teachers place students into groups of 6 prior to arrival. Mr. Chase meets with the student team leaders , who then explain instructions to their group. Along the way, team leaders will be taught how to lead and will teach the team members how to follow. All of this organization culminates in the measuring, cutting, and assembly of a low friction vehicle called a hovercraft. Once assembled, two students at a time ride the hovercraft, evaluate its performance, make changes to optimize its performance, and compete in a distance competition. It is common for students to travel the length of a basketball court on a single small push. Students are reminded that they are all valuable, regardless of whether they succeed or fail and that failure is simply another opportunity to learn.
The curriculum is developed for 5th and 6th grade.
The Hovercraft Project needs a gymnasium or tennis court sized space for an entire day. This can be an outdoor covered space, an indoor basketball court, or multipurpose room. Schools that lack these accommodations can either bus students to another school with those facilities or secure a commercial space themselves. An indoor space the size of a basketball court with a smooth floor is preferred.