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September 23, 2018

Hovercraft Project Powers Fairley 4th Graders Into Fun Lessons


Beyond the academic lessons learned in class, Fairley Elementary School fourth graders applied necessary life skills in order to successfully construct and test hovercrafts.

Matt Chase of The Hovercraft Project guides Fairley Elementary School fourth grader Conner Helvie along the gymnasium floor during a test run of the hovercraft he and his teammates built together.

Matt Chase of The Hovercraft Project guides Fairley Elementary School fourth grader Conner Helvie along the gymnasium floor during a test run of the hovercraft he and his teammates built together.

Split into teams of 16, the fourth graders held designated jobs related to preparation, measurements, data analytics and leadership as they worked toward assembling the low-friction vehicles.

Teacher Valerice Stuart said while the project- and inquiry-based activity utilized academic lessons in science, technology, engineering and math, the students were required to engage with one another using teamwork, motivation, respect, communication and problem-solving, among other life skills, in order to reach success.

The full-day immersive program, led by Matt Chase of The Hovercraft Project, also taught the students that each of them is valuable and quitting is never an option.

Through some trial and error, Stuart said, each student has learned failure is okay and sometimes necessary to obtain progress toward achieving goals.

Fairley Elementary School fourth graders show their excitement for The Hovercraft Project as classmate Andrew Davis breezes on by during a trial run.

Fairley Elementary School fourth graders show their excitement for The Hovercraft Project as classmate Andrew Davis breezes on by during a trial run.

“Wow this is so cool,” one student said as he flew by his competition during a trial race.

As teachers, Stuart said the most difficult part of the day was watching students struggle with tasks and not being able to help, but those moments were also the most rewarding because each team overcame each challenge.

The project was brought to the Hannibal Central School District through the Arts-in-education program at the Center for Instruction, Technology and Innovation.

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