A junior boarding and day school for boys in grades six, seven, eight, and nine
Designing and Building Vehicles at Eaglebrook
There are many fabulous elective offerings at Eaglebrook, including various design courses. Mr. Jim Poulin offers a course where students design four-wheeled wooden vehicles that are able to drive downhill. The class built a total of five vehicles and each vehicle utilized the same type of wheels and method for attaching them to the vehicle. Each car also had the same method of steering, which involves moving the front axle with the driver’s feet. However, all further design elements were developed and designed by the students. Each group came up with its own braking method and size of their vehicle. Some of the vehicles could fit just one person and other vehicles could fit up to three people. In total, there were three one seater cars built, one double seater, and one triple seater.
The majority of the designing and building was done by the students, including the axle boxes, which are the structures that the wheels are attached to. The cars were made out of wood, and for simplicity’s sake, the cutting of large, dimensional lumber was done for the students. While building the vehicles, the students learned many valuable skills. “Perhaps the greatest skill that the students developed during this class was the ability to solve problems,” said Mr. Poulin. He went on to say “They were given assistance if they truly needed help, but for the most part, the students developed the solutions for every problem they faced.” His students needed to figure out how to build a strong vehicle, stop the vehicle safely, and simply get the car out of the classroom. Many of the solutions to these challenges were derived from instances where mistakes were made. The class was forced to solve problems if they wanted to have fun while driving their vehicles! See video of the vehicles in action by clicking here.