Seniors at High Tech High spend the last 6 weeks of their senior year in what we call Endersession. Students can intern for a local company, propose and execute an independent project, or enroll in one of the many specialized classes senior teachers hold during that time. In the Spring of 2012 I held an course called Independent Technical Projects and students did some pretty neat things.
One group of two students concentrated their attention on electromagnetics and resolved to build both a rail gun and a Tesla coil. In the end they succeeded in creating both and the results were splendid. While the research, design, and fabrication took most of the entire 6 week course – these videos provide a brief glimpse of some of their progress points along the way.
Another two students had just been accepted into an aerospace engineering program and wanted to experiment with airplanes. They were on an extremely limited budget but came across a method of construction that would allow them to produce a radio controlled airplane out of foamcore purchased from the local Dollar Tree for $1 a sheet. They came across some outdated electronics from a friend but a random passerby ended up donating some more legitimate parts later in the project. They designed and fabricated every inch of this plane from scratch and this video shows just a piece of the multiple design iterations and testing phases they went through.
This student project had a profound affect on me and now, one year later, I have become entrenched in the hobby of radio controlled airplanes, own multiple planes (some of which I built), and plan to do an R/C project with my students soon.