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SAR HS Students Build Their Own Chanukah Gifts

There’s nothing worse than trying to purchase holiday gifts only to discover that the item you’re looking for is out of stock or won’t arrive in time for your celebration. SAR HS Sophomores and Juniors eliminated all of this anxiety by using their design engineering skills to build their own holiday gifts to give to others. 

It was an amazing way to combine their knowledge of mechanics, motion and craftsmanship to create something unique and useful.

Jon Martin, head of the school’s Design Engineering department

The students learned about mechanical advantages with motors that had gearboxes and were really strong as a result. 

They translated circular motion to linear motion using a “scotch yoke,” the same principle behind other tools and mechanisms. Reciprocal saws and the reciprocating knife to carve turkey work using the same principle. Pistons on a car engine work in a somewhat similar manner as well.

The students practiced precision with the laser cutter to make the square cogs fit securely on the motor, and make the axles fit snugly in the cogs. The assembly was very tricky and took a lot of perseverance but once the students succeeded, you could sense their surge of  enthusiasm.

In addition to honing their design skills, students had to establish trust with their teammates to complete their projects. Some students built the front legs, others created the back legs, someone worked on soldering the wires and on the switch, and yet another person worked on the drawings and laser cutting the decorative features. 

“Since two of the groups combined their projects, I got to work with new people,” says Sophomore Asher White. “It was not at all challenging to combine our efforts and it was a perfect activity for those new to engineering.”

Sophomore Lia Tuchman found the project equally enlightening. “It was very exciting to build the Chanukah gifts, and it felt rewarding to see the look of happiness on the teacher’s face when I gifted her the toy” she says. “Along the way, I learned many new skills that will definitely help me in the future, and I got to collaborate with my friends on an extremely fun and creative project.”   

The students helped make Chanukah a memorable holiday for their teachers and classmates, and–thanks to these authentic gifts–one that will be celebrated all year long.