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  :: Featured Schools :: Cary-Grove High School ::

Cary-Grove High School
A multidisciplinary hovercraft project

Cary-Grove students build a hovercraft  
Instructor Mike Naughton helps his Tech II class glue the wood and foam on this year's hovercraft.
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.

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 DiscoverHover.

  Hovercraft construction
  Cary-Grove students setting up the first vacuum forming, to force plywood and foam together while adhesive epoxy sets.

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 program."

Hovercraft promotion team  
Students on 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."

  2004 school hovercraft project
  Cary-Grove student 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 project.

The hovercraft web team has featured the DiscoverHover Curriculum Guides on the Cary-Grove web site, as well as numerous photo galleries and two videos documenting both their first and second hovercraft project.

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 mnaughton@d155.org

All Material © 2003-2004 World Hovercraft Organization