The Wycombe Abbey Garage located at Wycombe Abbey’s Changzhou branch, in its 2nd year of operation welcomed 6 new students to work on it’s “Dune buggy” style car this term. A problem-based approach was used and students were tasked with assembling and building a fully functional car successfully. A bare-body chassis and the different parts of the vehicle were presented and the students had to use Inductive and Deductive Approaches to complete this task.
This ECA provides learners with the hands-on experience of working safely in a garage, knowledge of the different parts of a vehicle and their purpose, learning about and using specialist tools to assemble/disassemble different parts of a vehicle. Students learned how an ‘Internal Combustion Engine’ works and understand how power transfer happens from the engine to the wheels. The naked frame of the car enabled them to look at the insides of the vehicle frame, the suspension system and know how the power is transmitted from the engine using the chain drive mechanism.
Learners were able to apply physics concepts like forces, torque, momentum, power and the different electronic components that they learnt in IGCSE and A-Level to a real-life task and were successfully able to link these ideas in practice. They worked in a project management style scenario by first laying out tasks in a checklist that needed to be completed and set deadlines for these tasks. Roles were assigned to each student and they managed to complete the task of building the car successfully within the time frame.
Many of the students were using such kind of tools for the first time and had a great experience learning the names of the tools and mastering their use. Upon completion of the task students took a small, supervised test drive in the car and were ecstatic to see the machine perform well. A more controlled and guided activity awaited them at the go-karting track the following week where most students drove a go kart for the first time. The final two weeks of the ECA required them to dis-assemble the car and leave guidance and tips for the next group who would take over this task.