The district also received $551.84 for a super-mileage vehicle project. The project is a student activity that provides various educational venues in and outside the classroom, said project supervisor Timothy Ploeger. The project has students designing, fabricating, and testing a small one-person vehicle with a focus on high mileage during various challenge events around Wisconsin.
The challenge events are part of Challenge USA, which began in the early 2000s. Ploeger estimated that 25-30 schools currently participate in the events, and that number is growing.
Ploeger said the project is funded by soliciting sponsorships from area businesses, so receiving the STEAM grant is appreciated.
“It will really help us out a lot. We can maybe get some new engines or batteries that need to be replaced, so that will go a long-ways towards that,” Ploeger said.
There are currently 18 students involved in the project this year. They are building four vehicles.
“We started as a club back when we first started it,” Ploeger said. “It was an afterschool thing. Some of those nights we’d be here pretty close to midnight. Now it’s a class we’re trying to develop as we go. We design, we do the engineer’s design which is the process where we develop a prototype and build a car out of PVC so we can see any errors before we get to metal.”
Ploeger said the most useful skill students will learn from the project is problem-solving.
“No matter what career a person goes into they will have to problem-solve,” Ploeger said. “In the course of this project, there will be loads of problem-solving and with that the frustration of things not working out as planned. The students will learn to plan, learn from their mistakes, and make improvements to the vehicle. After the last event students will learn to reflect and determine what went well and where improvements could be made.”