Science Teachers UNITE! : LUSENET : Junkyard Wars : One Thread

Junkyard Wars is the best example of science inquiry that our students have available to them today. WE WANT MORE. I know that my science department would like to acquire a classroom set for physical science and physics classes. Teachers...let TLC know that we want this. We also want to have high school competitions. My team will kick all your butts....nbn

-- Nancy Bonner Newsom (, April 05, 2001


Yes, but would it make for good TV?

-- Chip Haynes (, April 05, 2001.

I don't know about it being good for tv. I do know that I think having something similar in a high lab setting is a good idea. Right now, the enrollment of engineers is dropping. When I first attended college, there were over 6,000 students. Now, there are barely over 4,000. High school students see engineering and science in general as boring and really complicated. Yes, some of it is. However, if they were able to do some hands on activities that could show results by the end of a lab, or maybe after a couple of labs, I guarantee that you would have more interest in engineering and science. Nancy, if you can come up with some kind of competition for your kids, go for it!! I wish I had something like that when I was in high school!!

-- William Barrett (, April 05, 2001.

Let me clarify: There were over 6,000 students at my school, not overall in the country. Now there are 4,000 students at my school. I apologize. My bad. :)

-- William Barrett (, April 05, 2001.

I get the impression that "hands on learning" whether it's physics or shop class, is really dying out in the US educational system. I'm all for anything that would get students involved in any sort of real world education. Contrary to what they all may think right now, few of them will ever be rich pop stars or see an NBA contract.

-- Chip Haynes (, April 05, 2001.

I think learning is dying out all over the US. I know it's cynical, but come on. Kids today want everything handed to them. The country will be ok for the next 20-25 years, because my generation will be running things. When I retire, ... I shudder to think of it. Ok ok. Enough of the political stuff. How's the weather? We have partly sunny and 68-70 degrees.

-- William Barrett (, April 05, 2001.

We, The Three Rusty Juveniles, have given presentations at 5 different schools and had a great time doing it. I have gone to a couple of shop classes myself, I can't get over how the kids pay attention when we are there. They, for the most part, had all seen the series and loved it, I don't believe any of the teachers ever required them to watch.


-- JustJay-captain-Three Rusty Juveniles (, April 05, 2001.

Nancy, here's a resource inspired by Junkyard Wars, dedicated to making it quick and easy for teachers to implement inquiry lessons.

Check it out. The worksheets and lesson guides are all free. Also, it sounds like you have great ideas that would be welcome additions to the site.

-- Michael (, April 05, 2001.

If these are high school students, why not build and study the physics of a competition robot? If there are "shop" classes at the school, many of the resources required to build the robot are already available. Arrange for a few university level engineering or physics students to come in and assist with the project. JYW is GREAT, but robots appear to present more opportunities for a high school class.


-- Max (, April 05, 2001.

Hey guys face it...

The age of machinery is drawing to a close..It's the dawn of the age of electronics...

Examples: Car Engines Sensors Digital Cameras MP3 TOYS (Erector sets are only found in Science stores anymore, but you can get a digicrap-a-pee at Dairy Mart...

We are like Merlin in the last days of Camelot...

Our last great shows for the kids are based in destruction or loud booms...

-- Dan Denney (, April 05, 2001.

Bringing what is done on the shows would be difficult unless scaled down a bit, but the show and classes based on the science behind it would be a blast. Teachers could show the build the first day, then have a discussion on who the class thinks will win and why. The second day show the test day, then a discussion on why the winner won, and what should have been done differently. Then a hands on with a scaled down or modified version of the device. That build for the class could be the 3rd day if not enough time in the 2nd. I think we have teams here that have shown that this format would work.

-- Joey Falgout (Broadcast Junkies) (, April 05, 2001.

Than you, Dan, for making it all sound so noble: " Merlin in the last days of Camelot". Yes, people that Actually Do Things do seem to be a dying breed. And yes, it's easy enough to blame Young People Today, except: It ain't the young people making all that crap- They just buy it. So who's doing the building and marketing of all those blithering electronic devices? Old poops like us. (Well, poops older than the kids, anyway.) Ah, well, that's ok. Let them stay inside and play video games on their TV- That just leaves the roads clear for us to test our latest invention! HA!

-- Chip Haynes (, April 06, 2001.

Oh...I wasn't blaming the kids...They just conform to the life around them...

-- Dan Denney (, April 06, 2001.

True, and with no kids of my own I can only speak from casual observation, but: It seems like their current cultural/social environment here in America almost discourages any physical real world experience.

-- Chip Haynes (, April 06, 2001.

Let me disagree with the general sentiment here that I've heard - that kids today aren't interested in engineering.

On the contrary, I think the success of JWY in the younger ages shows that kids are VERY interested in engineering. How many times have we heard the question "When do kids get to play?" Jay's example from classrooms also seems to confirm it - "They, for the most part, had all seen the series and loved it, I don't believe any of the teachers ever required them to watch."

Of course - not every kid is interested. But I don't see as bleak a picture as some people are saying it is.


-- Brian Flynn (, April 06, 2001.

Many moons ago, I posted a thread called Table Top Challenge, which advocated a scaled down version of the show for the under-aged mob. Try out some of these ideas on your local cable access station. I will be interested to hear of any response.

-- Arthur Majoor (, April 06, 2001.


I needed to hire another mechanical engineer for my department. We offer a great salary. Out of 60 resumes, less than 10% were mech guys...the rest? Electrical Engineers. I just see the shift, that's all.

I like the days when we increased HP by installing headers or holley double you buy a chip...(Not you Chip...)

-- Dan Denney (, April 06, 2001.

Dual feed Holleys on an Edelbrock manifold? PUT ME IN, COACH!!!! Some years ago, Road & Track did a wonderful story about a mechanic who looked out of his garage to see a flying car go by. He knew right then his way was doomed. We've already seen the problems of over-technologicated mechanical devices messing up the teams in JYW (The Navy's first engine in the amphibious vehicle challenge.) Occam's Razor is the First Rule of bodging, but encroaching technology makes it increasingly difficult to follow. C'est la vie.

-- Chip Haynes (, April 09, 2001.

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