Spring-Ford, North Wales Kids Compete With MagLev Trains
The Spring-Ford 7th graders and the North Wales 6th graders each have one win in an annual contest project that teaches them about advanced propulsion technology.
- February 5, 2013
High-speed trains in Japan and China use the principles of magnetic levitation ― or "maglev" ― to propel their passengers along at speeds that can exceed 300 miles per hour.
The student-built model maglev trains in the Fickert brothers' classrooms don't zip along quite that fast, but they do give the classes exposure to technologies that could eventually see wide deployment on rail networks in North America.
Ian Fickert, a technology education teacher at the Spring-Ford 7th Grade Center, and brother Derek Fickert, a 6th grade teacher at North Wales Elementary School, began coordinating a maglev train speed contest between their classes last year.
"We want to learn about the future, what we're going to see in 15 or 20 years, and that's what this project is showing them," Ian Fickert told Spring-Ford's RCTV.
The model trains from Derek Fickert's class eked out a .02 second win in last year's inaugural competition, but Ian's students brought the "Magnetic Levitation Trophy" to Spring-Ford in last week's rematch. The classes use Skype video chat to view each other's efforts over the Internet.
The pair plan to hold the contest again next year. Watch the video to see some of the trains in action.
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