Pine Street Elementary’s cafeteria came alive Thursday as a make-shift hovercraft laboratory for the school’s fifth-graders.
Think of it as a hands-on, quick-start project designed to drive home the kinds of science and math skills students will need to embrace in the 21st Century.
With chairs and tables cleared away, students took battery-powered leaf blowers and combined them with a few household items to create mini-hovercrafts that they piloted back and forth across the floor.
There was plenty of squeals and laughter from the youngsters as they wobbled the unstable crafts around the room, but there were also a few tears.
A loud school cafeteria can typically land someone in trouble, but Thursday morning the noise at Pine Street Elementary was not only encouraged, it was educational.
The school’s fifth-grade students took to the cafeteria for lessons in science and teamwork with Matthew Chase of the Hovercraft Project. The national nonprofit visits schools, providing the materials for students to build and race vehicles that slide across the floor, mimicking hovering.
Thanks to a serendipitous convergence of circumstances, Double Churches Elementary School students got an unusual hands-on lesson in the STEM subjects of science, technology, engineering and math — along with collaboration and communication — as they built hovercrafts and rode them across the gym floor Friday.
“It really felt like we were flying,” said fifth-grader Luke Norsworthy. “It was really cool.”