Naperville North students show off remote-controlled vehicles they designed, built

Naperville North students show off remote-controlled vehicles they designed, built

  • Juniors Kyle Friedman, Jessica Komar and Sophie Benmore show their quadcopter design to Naperville Unit District 203 Superintendent Daniel Bridges during a recent research and design showcase at Naperville North High School. The students had to design and build their own remote-controlled vehicles.

      Juniors Kyle Friedman, Jessica Komar and Sophie Benmore show their quadcopter design to Naperville Unit District 203 Superintendent Daniel Bridges during a recent research and design showcase at Naperville North High School. The students had to design and build their own remote-controlled vehicles. Joe Lewnard | Staff Photographer

  • A radio-controlled airboat is displayed by a team of pre-engineering students, including senior Connor Wagner.

      A radio-controlled airboat is displayed by a team of pre-engineering students, including senior Connor Wagner. Joe Lewnard | Staff Photographer

  • Radio-controlled car components are on display during the research and design showcase at Naperville North High School.

      Radio-controlled car components are on display during the research and design showcase at Naperville North High School. Joe Lewnard | Staff Photographer

  • Naperville North seniors Mara Flaherty, middle, and Amanda Johnson, right, show off their radio-controlled car.

      Naperville North seniors Mara Flaherty, middle, and Amanda Johnson, right, show off their radio-controlled car. Joe Lewnard | Staff Photographer

  • Senior David Czaplewski shows radio-controlled car components to his grandfather, Michael Czaplewski.

      Senior David Czaplewski shows radio-controlled car components to his grandfather, Michael Czaplewski. Joe Lewnard | Staff Photographer

 
 
Posted5/25/2019 8:00 AM

From boats and planes to cars and quadcopters, pre-engineering students at Naperville North High School spent roughly 13 weeks designing and building their own remote-controlled vehicles.

Senior Turner Pahl, a pre-engineering student, shows off a remote-controlled catamaran during the research and design showcase at Naperville North.
  Senior Turner Pahl, a pre-engineering student, shows off a remote-controlled catamaran during the research and design showcase at Naperville North. - Joe Lewnard | Staff Photographer

Those projects recently were on display during a research and design showcase in the learning commons.

Getting a remote-controlled vehicle to work properly is extensive work, teacher Jason Ryan said, and it requires the use of complex technology such as 3-D printers, laser engravers and cutters, a CNC machine, and a vacuum former that creates a plastic exterior for the vehicles.

What makes the project unique, he said, is the lack of guidance given to the student teams throughout the process.

"We give them no help," Ryan said. "We don't know how they work, which makes it the most authentic learning experience for them because they have to use the skills that were shown throughout the year."

Seniors Jack Smedic, right, and Aaron Summers test their radio-controlled aircraft.
  Seniors Jack Smedic, right, and Aaron Summers test their radio-controlled aircraft. - Joe Lewnard | Staff Photographer

It also requires them to use trial and error, he said. How do you get the wheels on a car to stay upright? How do you program a quadcopter so it'll hover in the air? It was up to the students to figure out what works and what doesn't.

The roughly 90 students involved also had to analyze their work using physics and math, Ryan said.

"It's a very unique experience," he said. "And the best thing is, they all did this themselves. They taught themselves how the electronics work."

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