Page 2 of 3
Video: A guide to private schools
Video: How to find a middle school
By Psyche Pascual
In some cases, what students accomplish is astounding, even patent-worthy:
Not all projects are as global as finding solutions for disaster relief or stopping illegal animal trade. It doesn’t have to be expensive either. Lubak has developed projects for his students that involved used toy or mechanical parts.
When Michael Delorio, a 16 year old who attends the California Academy of Mathematics and Science, a public high school in Carson, CA, designed an air cannon that launched ping-pong balls 80 to 100 feet into the air, he built it with $40 worth of polyvinyl chloride pipes and a sprinkler valve. First, however, Delorio and his team had to learn computer design software to draw the device, piecing the launcher together like a puzzle.
“It was hands-on, and it suits the way I learn better,” Delorio said. “I prefer to touch and feel it rather than learn about it from a book.”
After the launcher was built, the team went to a field with the machine and used a chronometer to track how fast the ping-pong balls traveled: 400 feet per second. Since then, Delorio has gone on to design small robots and other mechanical devices in national robot competitions. Delorio hopes what he has learned so far will propel him into a college robotics program.
If college is the goal, then projects are one way to get a student used to rigorous research habits. According to Project Lead the Way surveys, 97 percent of kids who went through the group’s STEM programs planned to pursue a four-year degree, compared with 67 percent of students who did not go through the group’s programs. Students who took Project Lead the Way courses were at least five times more likely to pursue engineering and technology classes than other first-year college students.
Working on robotics, examining animal meat, and inventing disaster relief devices may be rigorous, but they all have one thing in common, said Jeff Robin, an art teacher at High Tech High in San Diego.
“It’s gotta be fun. The more fun the project is, the more interested they’ll be, the more they’ll learn,” he said. “In fact, I have parents say, ‘I’m really concerned. My kids really like school. My kid’s having too much fun.’”
When Robin asked his art class to create a graphic novel based on novelist Kurt Vonnegut’s short stories in “Welcome to the Monkey House,” students had to learn drawing techniques, storyboarding, and dramaturgy, the skills to write a play or drama. They also had to learn about computer programs they needed to scan and publish a book of their artwork. They even held a gallery exhibition to talk about their work.
Robin said students learned more about writing and illustrating Vonnegut’s works than they would have if they had simply read his short stories and wrote a book report. “It’s more about personal interest. It’s about finding an idea about where you fit in,” he said. “The sky’s the limit.”
Sign up for our newsletter and we'll send you more
insights to help you help your child succeed.
Thank you! You will begin to receive newsletters from us shortly.
Great work! Only one more step. Now we just need you to verify your email address. Please click on the link in the email we just sent you to complete your registration.
Great work! Only one more step. Now we just need you to verify your email address. Please click on the link in the email we just sent you to submit your review.
Please click on the link in the verification email we just sent you to complete your change of email address.
Whoops! It looks like we still need to verify your email. To do so, please click on the link in the email we sent you. Can't find the e-mail? Click the button below and we'll send you a new one.
Thanks for registering. Welcome to GreatSchools, the largest online community committed to improving educational outcomes through parental involvement.
Thanks for verifying your updated email address.
Oops! You haven't verified your email address yet. To do so, please click on the link in the email we sent you. Can't find the email? Click the button below to receive a new one.
Oops! That email verification link has expired. Please click the button below to receive a new one.
Create an account to submit your answers.
Sign in with an existing GreatSchools account or using Facebook:
Your review has been posted to GreatSchools.
Share with friends! Post your opinion of on Facebook.
Welcome to GreatSchools!
For principals and school officials, we offer a special Enhanced School Profile (ESP) which allows you to update and add information about your school, as well as respond to reviews. If you are a school official, click Continue to start.
Please note that it can take up to 48 hours for your comment to be posted to our site. While you're here, we'd like to invite you to fill out a survey on your school's programs, activities, and extracurriculars. It only takes a few minutes and will help parents get a full picture of your school.
Get started now! You have successfully registered and can now start updating your Official School Profile. The information you provide is extremely valuable in helping parents and students learn more about your school, so thanks for taking the time!
Thank you for registering as a school leader. We just need to verify your email address. We've sent you an email - please click on the link in that message to get started editing your school's information!
Thanks! We just sent you an email – please click on the link in the email to post your answers.
Get timely updates for , including performance data and recently posted user reviews.