Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Leif's Junior High School Science Fair Projects

Leif found a way to combine his fascination with radio-controlled model cars with science experiments in seventh and eighth grades. He first designed an ingenious way to test the effect of different tire treads on battery life and the distance the car would travel on a charge. He had several different types of tires with vastly different tread patterns. It would be interesting to see how this kind of research would translate into today's world with real cars and find out how a variety to tread patterns would affect gas mileage.

In eighth grade, he got even more sophisticated, designing an experiment to measure the effect of gear ratios on speed and battery life. The RC-10 was a versatile car that could be modified in many ways, and there were many parts available to do that with. One was the gear system that tranferred the motion from the drive shaft to the wheel axle. By changing gear sizes, a different torque would be created.

Leif was a student who always insisted on doing his own work, and although there were times he did the minimal amount to get by, when he had an interesting assignment that challenged his incredible mind, he got deeply involve and produced outstanding work. Unfortunately, he was not a lover of academics and always maintained that he hated school. Actually, it wasn't school so much that he hated. It was mindless assignments and homework. Learning in class he often enjoyed, and assignments that caught his interest led to terrific work. He was fortunate at Northwood Junior High in Highland Park, Illinois, to have science and language arts teachers that really engaged his mind and he did some of his best work there.

The gear ratio experiment was selected to go on to the state science fair in Illinois, where it received a very high rating.

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