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Learning Takes Flight: The DiscoverHover International
School Hovercraft Program
In 450 BC, Confucius said, Tell
me, and I will forget. Show me, and I may remember.
Involve me, and I will understand.
Since the World Hovercraft Organization's
DiscoverHover program was launched in late 2003,
thousands of students across the world have been
awarded an educational experience that transcends
mere telling and showing. With
the DiscoverHover program, they are now actively
and eagerly involved in their own education.
The DiscoverHover web site provides
hovercraft plans and instructions, Curriculum Guides
and comprehensive resources at no charge to schools
and universities, youth organizations, instructors,
and students age 7 to 21 anywhere in the world.
The value of the DiscoverHover program
is best exemplified in the praise it receives from
participating instructors and students:
| Wantirna College
DiscoverHover One hovercraft
College in Victoria, Australia was the first
Australian School to build the DiscoverHover
One hovercraft. Secondary instructor Robert
Forbes says the project was so successful that
the school is, "beginning construction on
our second hovercraft using the DiscoverHover
One plans – because they work!"
He continues, "The project
has been a great experience, with very positive
feedback from parents, students and staff. One
long-serving staff member says this is the best
project he has seen at the school in his 22 years.
And the 14 students in the Technology Club have
seen their ranks swell to more than 40 students."
Tom Burridge, year 11 student at
Wantirna College and Team Leader for the school's
second hovercraft, echoes this enthusiasm: "This
experience has been very valuable to my education.
To be honest, school hadn't really interested
me until the start of year 10, but building the
DiscoverHover One gave my interest for
school a real boost. The DiscoverHover project
has been by far the highlight of my time at secondary
school. I have never had so much fun!"
School hovercraft project
In Ellicott City, Maryland USA,
Technology Education instructor Robert Hodge and
his 6th, 7th and 8th grade students at Ellicott
Mills Middle School are building their first
DiscoverHover One. Hodge writes, "I've
been teaching for 30 years and I cannot remember
this level of excitement in any other project
I've done with students. It brings to life the
math and science they're learning in their other
classes, and it excites them about education."
Mike Naughton, Industrial Technology
Department Chair at Cary-Grove
High School in Cary, Illinois USA reports,
"One of the most valuable aspects of the
project is the excitement of the students. Our
enrollment went up this year, and I think this
has played a part in that." His student,
Jake Rands, a junior at Cary-Grove, says, "It's
the most fun I've ever had in school!"
Naughton's former student Ryan
Marsel, now in his first year at Embry Riddle
Aeronautical University in Daytona Beach, Florida
USA, reflects, "Building the hovercraft last
year at Cary-Grove was an unforgettable experience.
It gave me opportunities that many students couldn't
dream of, and helped me to enroll in the number
one Aerospace Engineering school in the world."
State University hovercraft team
Dr. Cameron Coates, Assistant Professor of Engineering
Studies at Armstrong
Atlantic State University in Savannah, Georgia
USA believes the most valuable aspect of the program
is that it gives students, "experience with
the practical aspects … money, budgeting,
choosing the right component – the things
you don't get in school."
Such enthusiasm is contagious. It breathes new
life into the World Hovercraft Organization's commitment
to give schools and student organizations worldwide
the profound educational adventure of building a
hovercraft, learning to fly it, and racing it in
With the DiscoverHover program, however, what you
now see is not all you get! Our commitment includes
an expansion of the following areas in the days
* International DiscoverHover
Plans are underway to give students the opportunity
to showcase their hovercraft at national and international
competitive events. US cities who are interested
in hosting events (in addition to Terre Haute,
Indiana, the home of the World Hovercraft Organization)
are Orlando, Florida and Las Vegas, Nevada. Globally,
we are in discussions with several nations, including
Thailand, Russia, and the United Arab Emirates,
all of whom are eager to bring hovercraft endurance
racing events to their countries.
* Sponsorship funds
Shipping hovercraft overseas is quite expensive
and would prohibit most schools from participating
in international events. To help diminish this
obstacle, DiscoverHover has launched an extensive
sponsorship effort which, when complete, will
offset a significant portion of this expense for
* New communication channels
The most valuable source of advice for schools
building the DiscoverHover One hovercraft
comes from other member schools, so we are developing
new channels for DiscoverHover participants to
interact with one another. Currently, the ideal
place for member interaction is the DiscoverHover
Forum, where posts will open a discussion with
the entire worldwide DiscoverHover membership
as well as with program officials.
* Additional DiscoverHover
web site materials
Watch for new Curriculum Guides, a vastly expanded
Vocabulary List, and more, beginning in June 2005.
While you await our announcements
about these additions to the program, we encourage
you to check out the following recent additions to
the web site:
As more and more schools join DiscoverHover, we
will profile their projects in detail, complete
with photo galleries, in the Featured Schools
section of the web site. This is the perfect place
for new member schools to learn how other schools
have succeeded with, and benefited from, the DiscoverHover
Perhaps the most revealing indication of the impact
of DiscoverHover is the reaction of students. When
DiscoverHover began receiving comments from its
students, Chris Fitzgerald, Chairman of the World
Hovercraft Organization, exclaimed, "These
students are just like me! I had no time for school
– my mind was too full of building airships,
tunnels, pyramids, rockets … It was only when
school began to show me how I could achieve these
quests that I started to learn. We have founded
a truly great educational tool."
This section is an informative resource not only
for instructors currently involved in DiscoverHover
projects, but also for those who are considering
the program for their schools.
Complete DiscoverHover One
have now been added to the web site, along with
contact information for suppliers and helpful hints
for obtaining the engine(s) as a donation.
As the DiscoverHover International School Hovercraft
Program continues to mature, we invite you to partner
with the World Hovercraft Organization in developing
this truly unique educational opportunity:
If you are a DiscoverHover member and would like
to be considered as a Featured School, please
email PR@WorldHovercraft.org for application instructions.
Submission of your materials can become a class
project as you write about your experiences building
a hovercraft. Be sure to take photos as you build
If you are interested in becoming
a sponsor of DiscoverHover events, or if you would
like to contribute materials or donations to member
schools, please email Office@WorldHovercraft.org
If you are an educator and would
like to provide curricula or other material for
the DiscoverHover web site, please email Office@WorldHovercraft.org
Register Now: Hovercraft
as a Teaching Tool
In conjunction with the 2005 US National Rally,
The Hoverclub of America will host a symposium dedicated
to the integration of hovercraft into today's high
school and college curriculum. Hovercraft
as a Teaching Tool will take place on 24 June
2005 at the Chillicothe Campus of Ohio State University
in Chillicothe, Ohio.
A broad range of speakers – to include DiscoverHover
Chairman Chris Fitzgerald - will present topics
including school hovercraft programs, hovercraft
designs and applications, construction requirements,
and the outcomes of specific school hovercraft projects.
The US National Rally draws top racers and designers
from throughout America and abroad. Come spend the
weekend, tour the pits, talk to the people in the
hovercraft industry, and watch hovercraft championship
racing Saturday and Sunday 25-26 June. This is the
best opportunity available in the US to learn what
hovercrafting is all about!
The cost of attendance is only $18 for adults and
$12 for students, which includes a casual lunch
on Friday and a complimentary pit pass. Door prizes
will be awarded and hovercraft will be available
onsite for up-close inspection.
Advance registration for Hovercraft as a Teaching
Tool is highly encouraged as seating will be limited.
To pre-register, email the following information
to L. Bondurant at LPB3@mindspring.com,
or FAX it to 770-642-8814:
- Your name
- City and State
- Email address
- Number of adult participants
- Number of student participants
Prepayment is not necessary, but be sure to pre-register
soon and check in for the seminar on 24 June before
11:30 a.m. to assure the availability of seating