Cary-Grove High School
A multidisciplinary hovercraft project
Schools and universities across the world have found
that the DiscoverHover school hovercraft program is
an exceptional way to foster self-motivation in students
and keep them actively involved in their own education.
|Instructor Mike Naughton
helps his Tech II class glue the wood and foam
on this year's hovercraft.
Jake Rands, a junior at Cary-Grove High School in
Cary, Illinois, exemplifies this effect. "It's
the most fun I've ever had in school," he says,
"Constructing a hovercraft as a school project
is very fun and educational." Jake believes it's
an especially useful experience for him because his
career goal is to become an engineer.
Jake's instructor, Mike Naughton, is Chairman of
the Industrial Technology Department at Cary-Grove.
He and the eighteen students in his Technology Education
class are building their second hovercraft, using
a combination of the free DiscoverHover
One hovercraft plans and a set of plans he
had purchased independently before learning about
setting up the first vacuum forming, to force
plywood and foam together while adhesive epoxy
When asked if he felt DiscoverHover is a valuable
program compared to similar ones, Naughten said, "Absolutely!
It's such a great experience. Enrollment has gone
up in Industrial Technology this year and I think
this has played a part in that. It has really drawn
them in, so now we're working on starting a club.
I know two other schools building a hovercraft from
plans they purchased, so I've sent both of them to
the DiscoverHover web site."
Naughton demonstrated the school's first hovercraft
last week to forty Physics instructors from northern
Illinois and directed them also to the DiscoverHover
web site. "Physics classes can really benefit
from the DiscoverHover Curriculum
Guides. They were pretty excited about it and
I'm sure many of them are going to sign up for the
the hovercraft promotions team update the display
cases at Cary-Grove High School.
One of the things Naughton is trying to do at the
high school level is to make his hovercraft projects
a true multidisciplinary effort - to get the science
classes involved, and others as well. "My Physics
Department has really taken an interest in DiscoverHover
and the web site has been great for them. They’ve
done the little leaf blower hovercraft with the extension
cord out in the hallway. Now they're using activities
that are on the DiscoverHover web site."
Cary-Grove's hovercraft project is being utilized
not only to give students experience in practical
applications of engineering and physics, but also
to foster their individual interests and broaden their
experience. Naughton first talked to the students
to see what their interests were. "Not all of
them wanted to get their hands dirty," he says.
"We have two teams of 4 doing the actual build;
there are four students in charge of producing videos,
another two in charge of the web site, and four more
on a promotions team, creating display cases at the
school and designing tee-shirts."
Ryan Marsel with Mr. Ragan on Crystal Lake for
the maiden voyage of last year's hovercraft. Mr.
Ragan donated $1,000 to the school hovercraft
The hovercraft web team has featured the DiscoverHover
Guides on the Cary-Grove
web site, as well as numerous photo galleries
and two videos documenting both their first and second
Naughton says his hovercraft program is a great experience,
and his students are responding enthusiastically.
"A student I had last year, now at Embry-Riddle
Aeronautical University in Florida, sent me an email
the other day with the subject line I wish I were
still in high school! He's been telling his fellow
engineering students about his hovercraft experience
at Cary-Grove, and says they're pretty jealous of
the project and how practical it was for him."
At the time of this writing, Cary-Grove is only two
weeks into this year's hovercraft build, but they're
already looking forward to entering into competitions.
When asked if he would be interested in upcoming events
organized by DiscoverHover for participating schools,
Naughton answered simply, "Wow! YES!"
Mike Naughton invites instructors who are interested
in using the DiscoverHover program in their schools
to contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org