I have always loved wood working and I knew the kids would love it, too. When I brought the idea to Administration, their reaction was "What a great idea! What can we do to get this going?"
Our wood shop last year consisted of one bench sander, bench top bandsaw, bench top drill press, scroll saw, all sorts of electric hand tools (electric drill, jigsaw, dremel tools, sanders) and all the clamps you could ask for. (We also have hammer-and-screwdriver type of equipment.) Thanks to the success of last year's projects, this year we have two of everything.
Wood working safety is important and working with groups of 2 or 3 students at a time is crucial. That means that having more adult help for wood working projects ensures that all students are working, engaged and safe. I am lucky to have parent volunteers in The IDEA Lab any time I ask for them.
Sixth grade students started this project paging through my collections of different wood worker magazines and then making sketches of their own.
Students instinctively chose first projects in accordance with what they believed their abilities were. Some students designed fairly complex tanks with turrets that turn and tracks that rolled. Other students designed pull-toy dogs with floppy ears and two sets of store-bought wheels.
For second projects, students designed with more detail and did their work with more care. They used personal determination and courage to master machinery that earlier appeared to be beyond them.
All students said "Can we do this project again?!"