Learning By Restoring
The small engine class at Golden Heart Christian School in Fairbanks, Alaska, had just enough time to finish its major restoration project by the end of the school year.
As the vision for the class project was formed, a 1997 Arctic Cat Powder Extreme snowmobile was purchased. The machine was broken down — it didn’t run, didn’t look good and was very dirty, but it was perfect for a small engine class.
Students learned the names of different tools and how the tools were were to be used. Then students were given opportunity to choose the right tool for the job. Instructions were given on how to disassemble and clean parts and make them ready for restoration and reassembly.
The machine was taken apart and put into different subgroups that could later be cleaned, repaired and reassembled. The chassis was then painted, along with the front suspension, and then reassembled. As an additional step in the prep work, the front tub was fastened to the chassis and the skis put back on.
A replacement crankshaft was located, and Jillian Proell, an eighth-grader, assembled the new crankshaft into the existing engine case. Once this was completed, Caleb Buchholz, a seventh-grader, cleaned many small parts for the engine in preparation for completing the process of restoration.
Students Jamin Fowler, Cameron Henry and Daniel Pearson removed the chassis, track, rear suspension and different pieces for cleaning, repair and reassembly. A Fairbanks Church member painted the hood and gave it a whole new look. A new seat cover was installed as the final step, and the machine is now stored and waiting for snow.
Proell has gleaned enough knowledge to assemble another engine and is excited because she is in competition with her brother, who is assembling his own engine. Anticipation builds as to who will get their engines running first.
The small engine class not only taught the students of Golden Heart Christian School practical skills, but also helped to develop the need for patience, the ability to work collaboratively and a sense of accomplishment.