One of their latest endeavors: assembling a working race car.
Davis Hedrick, a seventh-grader at Norwalk Catholic School, tinkered with steering cables a few weeks ago at the construction technology lab. He worked with his teammates to secure nuts and bolts in place, and then tested the latest addition to the vehicle’s wooden frame.
“It works,” Hedrick said, celebrating the small victory.
After all, even the brightest inventors must undergo a little trial-and-error to get the job done.
“When we first put it together, the axles steered in the opposite direction,” Hedrick explained. “It’s been challenging, but we’re learning a lot”
Hedrick is one of 15 members of EHOVE Career Center’s new Engineering and Innovation Club, which is completing three projects this spring:
•Building two Soap Box Derby race cars, to race in Cleveland-area competitions on April 26 and May 17.
•Constructing a replica of the 1902 “Wright glider,” built by the Wright brothers, to be housed in the Liberty Aviation Museum in Port Clinton.
•Participating in the nationwide KidWind Challenge, which encourages students to build the best wind turbines.
EHOVE Career Center created its Engineering and Innovation Club this year to provide students in seventh, eighth and ninth grade with hands-on learning opportunities, with a focus on science, technology, engineering and math, commonly called “STEM,” assistant director Matt Ehrhardt said.
Students from Bellevue, Edison, Norwalk and New London schools enrolled this year, but students from any local school can participate.
Ron Bowerman, a science teacher at St. Wendelin High School in Fostoria, advises the club. Current and former engineers also mentor students regularly, including Brian Willis, with NASA Plum Brook, Stuart Warner, a retired safety engineer, and Steve Hovest, with Airway Laser Systems.
“Many of the skills they’re learning are lost on the current generation, and we want to teach them how valuable they are for everyday life,” Warner said. “If they solve these problems, they’ll have the confidence to go out and solve others. We let them do most things on their own, but provide guidance when they need it”
The method is certainly tried-and-true.
Hedrick’s teammates — seventh-grader Ethan Barber, ninth-grader Noah Cleary and eighth-graders Ian Seymour and Devin Nunez — said they can’t wait to test their newly honed skills at the Soap Box Derby races next month.
“We’re calling our car the ‘Blue Mango,’” Hedrick said. “We’re really proud of how it’s coming along”