Summary Of the BUV Project


Basic Utility Vehicle

The students at Calera High School pre-engineering class have taken the role of a modern day Henry Ford as they developed affordable transportation for the needy masses around the world. Not only are the students learning valuable Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematic (STEM) skills, but they are learning community service as they give of their time and talents to groups that they will probably never meet. Through this project, these students learned they can radically change the lives of people around the world. This project presented affordable transportation that allows goods and services to be brought to and from the marketplace. This project has far exceeded my expectations as an engineering teacher, for not only have the students developed a viable vehicle, but they have made it in kit form utilizing simple materials that are found locally around the world. The students further enhanced their project by creating a set of assembly instructions which they have had translated into Spanish, French and Swahili. Last year the students also made an assembly video that would further aid in the assembly process. The scope of the project was to develop (invent) a kit vehicle that could be shipped to third world countries allowing a national to build their own vehicle using nothing more than simple hand tools. The students took their vehicles to a collegiate competition in Indianapolis, sponsored by the Institute for Affordable Transportation (IAT). The Institute for Affordable Transportation’s primary mission is to develop an inexpensive vehicle that can be marketed in developing countries. Through this project the students learned many skills such as: STEM teamwork mechanics engineering design internet technology/research CAD problem solving. The Chelsea Middle School 8th grade Career Discovery class competed in the 2007 and 2008 Basic Utility Vehicle (BUV) competition. They placed first in the open class in 2007 and both first and second place in the 2008 competition. Most recently Calera High Schools Principals of Engineering class took their completed vehicle to the competition where they not only placed first in their class. They received the highest score of the competition and won the most innovative award.Through this project I have personally seen students transform from kids that hated school to students who couldn’t wait to get to school. Many of the students have developed leadership skills and are inspired to continue their education. This is my true success as an educator. This program has strong support by the business and educational world. The Calera program has over 170 business/industry and association partners. These local, national, and international partners have donated materials, equipment, and technology to the projects. UAB’s Mechanical Engineering School has involved students and staff in technical support.

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