I've been teaching for 14 years but at only 2 schools. Both of the schools have whats called in our district "inner city" status. This doesn't mean we're in a big city, it means that a significant number of the students are living near the poverty level. Many of the kids come from some pretty impoverished conditions and a really unstable family environment.

What i've noticed is that when these kids are given the opportunity to give back they are empowered in ways that a lunch program or free tutoring really can't touch. I like to show 2 really powerful videos. Even if you don't do this project you need to watch them. When i watch these videos and see the reactions of my students I really have to fight back tears. It is fantastic to see the kids GEARED UP for change.


So i've been thinking about what I can do with my shop kids to give them the chance to give back to the community. I want them to realize their potential for making a change not only in their own situation but for others as well. This is what i've come up with and Instructables is a perfect way to organize and present my ideas... so here ya go.

This really is two Instructables in one... I want  the kids to learn how to help in their community and I want the kids to learn how to set up and build a project assembly-line style that addresses the needs they discover.

Here's my Learning Objectives...

Part One...( the brainy stuff)

-The Students will learn how to discover through research WHO needs help in their area
-Through discussion and research the students will discover WHERE the people are.
-Once the students identify who to help they need to learn WHAT they can do to help.
-The students will learn and identify HOW to  find resources to accomplish the goal.
-The students will learn to communicate and cooperate as a team to achieve a goal.
-The students will become empowered and PUMPED to create change!! YA!!!

Part Two... (the practical hands on stuff)

-The students will demonstrate different ways to creatively design a product.
-The students will learn how to determine materials requirements.
-After available tools are established the students will decide which will be used. We have all sorts of tools in our shop so the students will learn and demonstrate how to safely operate the Drill press, Hand drill, Scroll saw, Jigsaw and Band saw.
-Students will learn to apply teamwork to efficiently construct a project by using piece work and assembly-line style building if needed.

Submitted by HD Stafford Middle School  for the Instructables Sponsorship Program

Step 1: Determining WHO

After i explain to the class the project we move to the next step.

I'm a chalkboard kinda guy so thats where i usually start.
First i'll ask the kids WHO we can help. I've already done the research in our community and laid the groundwork but the kids don't know that. I'll guide them to the end.. :-)

I ask kids to call out ideas. No idea is a bad idea in my class so i'll write down pretty much anything. Within reason of course. Answers could include:

-Overseas... Kids in Africa, Asia
-People downtown (vancouver...housing and the homeless is a widely publicized issue... occupy being a major issue here)
-People in our area... street people usually are first mentioned
-Other kids in the area.
-People the kids know.

Whats really interesting is that the kids usually don't recognize local needs first. I try to guide them that way because it really is more practical and the kids can actually go TALK  to the people.

Now I ask which groups they could more realistically help. The answer (gently guided by me) will be the people in our area. Depending on your area you might want to narrow it down a bit... I'm going to guide my kids to other kids in the area because it is something really personal for the students. 
<p>nice one</p>
<p>great project</p><p>Im a student teacher and just finished my first week of professional experience in a school teaching MDT to middle and secondary class groups. Your project ideas are great. The school I was at the yr 10 students were working on a community project building cubby houses that were then going to be sold to families that couldnt afford to buy one normally and this money would be donated back to the school for student excursions and trips or materials for the school. It was amazing to see the kids taking the project seriously, participating in discussions on design issues, taking care (for the most part!) in the quality of the work. I really enjoyed my time there and got me excited about becoming a teacher.</p>
Great to hear about your excitement about the job! It really is the best career! Students never cease to amaze me. I am working at a school in Rwanda, East Africa right now and I would highly recommend it to any teacher!
Thanks SO much. I really appreciate the kind words.<br>-Stu
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Very interesting. <br>Perhaps a project to research and make wood burner or wood gas or biomass burners would help give your workshop cheaper or more efficient heating?: ) <br>
for sure. i think that kids really need to expand their horizons! building basic projects is great but sustainable projects are better!
This is a fantastic idea! Very well done!
Nice idea :) its the first time your images show a wide shot of your workshop.... It looks awesome! Does it not get cold tho? Canadian winters are pretty nippy I hear?
hey jonny! the shops... both wood and metal were built 30 years ago for the apprenticeship program. when the school was changed to a middle school 4 years ago i jumped in and set up the shops so they wouldn't be &quot;absorbed&quot; by the district. Awesome facilities. very cold in the winter though! <br>(it only hit -8C this winter)
That is totally awesome. Well worthy of being featured. Keep up the great work.
thanks to both of you! I really appreciate the comment support.
Great project, way to keep to focus local!

About This Instructable


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Bio: Car buff, longboard builder and shop teacher. not enough time to build stuff.
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