LICTENVOORDE – Four groups of first-year students from Marianum have been building a soapbox for weeks. Last Thursday, they got a ‘last technique day’ to finish their soapbox in time for the soapbox race. Marianum is running on Needse Mountain on June 17 against Assink Lyceum and Staring College, where no fewer than 26 teams will compete against each other. The project was created under the banner of Sterk Techniek Onderwijs Achterhoek Noord-Twente, which aims to excite students to technical professions.
By Dinès Quist
The initiative for the school soapbox race comes from Assink Lyceum. The school from Haaksbergen with departments in Neede and Eibergen also arranged the race last year and due to the success wanted to roll out the event to other schools this year. Marianum from East Gelre and Staring College from Lochem / Borculo were enthusiastic and participating this year. Technology teacher Herbert Teunissen immediately saw an educational challenge in the soapbox race: “There is so much to learn from building a soapbox,” he says. “They learn to design, saw, screw, weld and plan. We have chosen to work with students in the first year. In this way, they can become acquainted with the subject of technology. We received many more applications than we could handle. Eventually, four groups of five students were formed, who were allowed to make a soapbox. ”
Collect circular materials yourself
“The students first sat down together to make a design. There was to be a brake and a steering wheel in the box and the rest they could come up with themselves. Then they had to collect used material. They cut off companies from arranging the material, and they had to make sure that it ended up in the technology room. They started on March 31, and the first boxes are now ready for a test drive. ” The teams leave for Neede on June 17 with the coach. There they will race down the Needse mountain, and as if that were not enough there is also a ramp, borrowed from Zwarte Cross.
“The students are so fanatical that they came to the technology room in their spare time to build, often I had to wipe them out at half past four.”
One of the four soapbox teams is a girls group. They work systematically with saws and screws. When asked who will drive down Needse Berg in the soapbox, it remains remarkably quiet. “In fact, none of us really want to,” one of them admits. “The corners seem especially scary to me.” She shows the steering wheel attached to the wheels with ropes, which can be steered with a stick.
At the back of the technology room, sparks fly around the boys’ ears when one of them grinds. They have made a nice iron construction, which they have welded themselves. The philosophy behind the iron frame is: “We just thought it was fun to make.”
A boy from another group is working on an old car seat. “It comes from my brother’s car,” he says. “The booth for our soapbox is from an old go-kart that we have not used for years,” explains a classmate. The soapbox offers room for two people, they take turns to get behind the wheel, because one thing is for sure: they all want Needse Berg.
Strong technology education
The soapbox race is not only fun, but also has an underlying idea: to make students enthusiastic about technology. “There is a tremendous shortage of technical people. With this project, students experience in a fun way how challenging technology can be. Today, the field of technology encompasses much more than before. There have been big leaps in innovation, which makes the subject very broad and extremely interesting today, ”explains Herbert. To put technology back on the map, the national Strong Technology Education was created. This soapbox race was funded under the banner of Sterk Techniek Onderwijs Achterhoek Noord-Twente. Schools facilitate and make teachers available.