Remember sitting in school wondering, when am I ever going to use this information–while daydreaming about RC cars? What if by working with a hobby shop, that gap could be bridged, using RC crawlers as a vehicle for real-world experiences and hands-on learning? How can we use Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, and Math (STEAM) to emulate the automotive world through the use of models? In an intense two-week course, seventh and eighth grade students in New Hampton, Iowa are about to embark on that journey.
Teams will assemble the Axial SCX10 III Jeep Wrangler Rubicon JLU 4WD kit and create obstacles to test them on. Each team member will focus on a specialty area such as drivetrain/transmission construction, constructing the frame and attaching components, assembling the wheels, shocks, and electronics, and overseeing the body from design, to prep, and painting.
At the completion of the project, there will be a community showcase night where students will display their crawlers, present the process for building their Axial Jeeps, and demonstrate the obstacles they created. Students will invite local RC enthusiasts to come for a crawler show and shine, and to test their skills and crawlers on the crawling course they have assembled. As an added incentive for the students, there will be a People’s Choice Award where attendees will vote on their favorite student Axial Jeep build.
Goals for this experience are for students to apply STEAM principles, become familiar with the parts of a vehicle, gain mechanical understandings, and consider possible career paths. Through all aspects of the project students will develop, practice and utilize the necessary 21st century skills of critical thinking, complex communication, collaboration, teamwork, flexibility/adaptability, creativity, productivity, and accountability, as well as have a little RC crawler fun!
Text by Jeff Monteith
Images by RCCA Staff