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Hovercraft Project Combines Science, Teamwork in Phoenix

Fifth graders Aubrey Harris (left) and Shy’Meriah Jones encourage classmate Colin Burgett as he rides a hovercraft in the school gymnasium.
Fifth graders Aubrey Harris (left) and Shy’Meriah Jones encourage classmate Colin Burgett as he rides a hovercraft in the school gymnasium.

PHOENIX – Teamwork was in the spotlight recently at Emerson J. Dillon Middle School as fifth graders collaborated to build hovercrafts.

Fifth graders Aubrey Harris (left) and Shy’Meriah Jones encourage classmate Colin Burgett as he rides a hovercraft in the school gymnasium.
Fifth graders Aubrey Harris (left) and Shy’Meriah Jones encourage classmate Colin Burgett as he rides a hovercraft in the school gymnasium.

The day-long learning initiative, hosted by Matt Chase, founder of the Hovercraft Project, included opportunities for academic and social growth.

Teams worked together to measure, cut, assemble and test hovercrafts powered by Dewalt blowers.

During the testing stage, students analyzed data and adjusted their craft to maximize its distance traveled.

“Our philosophy is learn to love to learn,” Chase said. “This is a full-day, immersive experience for the students, and they are in control of their learning.”

Students Amaya Crutchley, Michael Goudy, Melody Payne and Shaylee Denslow help Superintendent Christopher Byrne aboard a hovercraft.
Students Amaya Crutchley, Michael Goudy, Melody Payne and Shaylee Denslow help Superintendent Christopher Byrne aboard a hovercraft.

Once the initial data was analyzed, team competition began, and students rode hovercrafts from one end of the gymnasium to the other before an eventual winner was crowned.

The Hovercraft Project was a collaboration with the district and the CiTi BOCES Arts in Education program.