Breaking the Classroom’s Monotonous Route

Some of you might be familiar to Google’s philosophy of fostering fun in the workplace. It stimulates creativity, lessens pressure and stress, and creates an environment of productive employees. This approach has been so effective that other companies have been implementing it in their own workforce.

Stepping outside the box

Or more apt is stepping outside the classroom. As Google’s unorthodox method is working for their company and several others who followed their path, isn’t it time that schools do the same? If you’re back in grade school, would you rather learn things by taking down notes and memorization or is hands-on activities more fun?

You have to admit that the latter is a lot more appealing. Plus it beats sitting inside the classroom for hours on end.

If we are to further foster the STEM discipline (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math) we should implement more engaging activities that will encourage the interests of students in this area.

Fifth-graders building cars

Well, not real ones, mind you. It’s just a six inches long car which consists of rudimentary materials like balloons, sticks, and nozzles. This program was implemented by the University of New Mexico’s Formula Society of Automotive Engineers (FSAE) which is conducted in order to promote interests of young individuals to engineering and expose them on this area as early as possible.

The program, which consists of 50 fifth-graders, was held at the Monte Vista Elementary School of Albuquerque and was led by team members of the FSAE. The fifth-graders are then formed into different groups to design, build, collect and analyze data in order to have an understanding of how the nozzle affects their car’s performance.

The FSAE members guided the students on building the car, instructing them on certain specification on how it’s supposed to look like, providing a peek into the world of engineers – creating projects based on a client’s specified needs.

It’s a great program that gives the kids brand new perspectives on teamwork, basic principles of engineering, how to troubleshoot problems and creating paths to solving them, and going through the systemic course of finishing a task.

While teachers and students of the University of New Mexico are present during these activities, the young ones are the focal point of the whole activity, with the adults giving a helping hand when needed.

Where the program started and ultimately leads

Mechanical Engineering Professor John Russell started this LOBOMotorSports Formula SAE program back in 1998, and since then has developed into a three-semester program. Students can take three courses: Racecar Design and Dynamics, Racecar Build Lab, and Racecar Test Lab. These courses can earn these students 10 hours’ worth of credit.

This program’s culmination is a chance for these students to participate and compete against the best schools in the world.

These efforts of taking our young ones outside and engaging them into these fun and educational activities are a great way of breaking the monotonous route of the classroom. Not to mention that this might spur them in the right direction of choosing a profession that they have grown fond of.

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