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Technical What to teach high school kids?

Discussion in 'The Hokey Ass Message Board' started by gijoe985, Jun 9, 2017.

  1. wicarnut
    Joined: Oct 29, 2009
    Posts: 5,226


    Admire your dedication and caring attitude for our youth of today. Being an old school Tradesman/business owner IMO, the young kids of today and the last 20 years that I dealt with were pretty much useless with a very poor work ethnic and a bad attitude to go with. The one suggestion I have that kids today will accept and will be receptive to IMO, Use YouTube as a reference for learning like us old timers used written manuals with pictures for help. With the little time you get with them, some basics, safety and hopefully spark the interest of some is your reality. I have and use YouTube myself and it is a great tool, experience can't be taught, it have to be earned, we all start at 0, Good Luck with your teaching career, one of my daughters and her husband are in education, other daughter is an RN, 2 of my sons are business owners ( not related to what I did) and the youngest son has a teaching degree, but works in sales. Very proud of all of my kids ( now 42-51 already) and surely they had some educator's, mentor's along the way as I did that made a difference. Sadly the education system gets the blame for today's youth, But IMO Poor parenting is the real problem in today's society, off my soapbox now, Again, Good Luck ! And everyone have a Great day ! Summer is here !
    Last edited: Jun 10, 2017
  2. jnaki
    Joined: Jan 1, 2015
    Posts: 5,243

    Hey GI,
    Here is a link to one of the best (last remaining) high school auto shop programs in So Cal. The rest of the high school programs locally have shut down completely. This school is the district academy version that is open to any high school student that lives within the whole school district. The other 4 high schools once had auto shop programs, but they all got closed and anyone was then able to transfer to this auto academy.

    They have won awards in the state and are considered one of the best around in So Cal. Email the teacher, Mr. Caesar from the site. The school just got out for summer vacation, but maybe they will check their emails.

    You might try calling the school as some of the staff are still in the office. Leave a phone message with your email and phone for a return...Saying you need information on the Auto Academy program and would like to contact the teacher, Mr. Caesar.
    57 Fargo and wicarnut like this.
  3. See if you can find a local "squared away" hot rodder that would be willing to bring their hot rod in for a visit - HAMB member might be a good place to start. Somebody who might impress on the students that there's a world out there that's cool without the massive drug problems, skinny jeans, and the " cell phone of the week". Some of these kids have never even seen a real hot rod up close.
    wicarnut and loudbang like this.
  4. bct
    Joined: Apr 4, 2005
    Posts: 3,094


    terminology and how to use a car manual. how to teach themselves.
    loudbang likes this.
  5. Mr48chev
    Joined: Dec 28, 2007
    Posts: 28,166


    As someone else mentioned, shop SAFETY is first and foremost in any shop class. How to work safe and see that those around you are working safely. That goes from properly handling of tools to proper placement of jacks and stands under vehicles. That is the one thing that they will hopefully retain the rest of their lives.

    I taught vocational auto mechanics for 13 years and the first thing I did the first day I taught was lock up the crescent wrenches. Teach them to use the correct tool and or the correct wrench for the job and get used to doing that. Once they get used to that it becomes automatic to reach for the proper wrench or tool.

    After a session on safety (safe work on any task has to be stressed all the way though all classes though) I'd start with basic theory of how an engine and it's systems work.
    When I was teaching a friend with a wrecking yard would sell me two or three complete running but tired engines every year that my beginner classes tore down to the bare block, hot tanked the block, installed new cam bearings and did all the steps on a rering and valve job on the engine, assembled them and put them in a test frame and started and ran them. We didn't bore the block or replace pistons we just did a full rering job with a few extra steps just as is done in shops all over the country every day. That the engines ran when they finished was a major accomplishment for those in the class that worked on them and feedback from other teachers who had heard stories about the day the engine they worked on had started and ran was good.

    Electrical, along with basic theory, how to use test equipment such as volt meters, ohm meters, test lights and other instruments. Basic wiring with complete circuits too

    Brakes and doing them right is another part of basic auto mechanics. I had always wanted to make some brake training aids where you had either a spindle or stub of a rear axle mounted to a metal plate and bracket that held it up off the bench so you could have several students taking the brakes apart on them at one time. That would let them get the basic steps down including packing wheel bearings before doing an actual brake job.
    I never got too much into transmissions or rear ends as both of those are usually specialty items in shops. We did some in the advanced classes but one teaches what he knows well and what gives the student a good solid base to move on with. It's better to go with the basics such as safety, how an engine works, how a fuel system works, how the automotive electrical system works and brakes than try to get too much in in a short time. Write out a syllabus for the class outlining what you want to do and figure out the time frame for each section and put the components of each area in those time frames. That helps you stay on track and it gives you something to show the administrators when they want to know how you are doing or what you are doing. Being able to pull it out and say "here is what we are doing now, this is what we did and this is what we are going to be doing in the class is a must.
    wicarnut and loudbang like this.
  6. Larry W
    Joined: Oct 12, 2009
    Posts: 731

    Larry W
    from kansas

    Start with ..turn OFF the fricken cell phones..
  7. 4 pedals
    Joined: Oct 8, 2009
    Posts: 750

    4 pedals
    from Nor Cal

    I was in high school 1987-1992. I took auto shop 3 out of 4 years, freshman were not allowed. Mechanical trades education was dying even then.

    A lot of students took the class as a way to not have to do much. There was some book work and a few videos, and after 20 minutes or so each day we were allowed to go out into the shop to work on our own stuff. Most would gather in a pickup bed to sit around and BS, but I always had something I wanted to work on. By my senior year I was a Teacher's Assistant. I had finished the 2 years of available curriculum and more or less had free reign of the shop while others were in class but I would help them during shop time.

    After a few twists and turns in my own life I got into the field professionally about 15 years ago. The young people I see entering the field today are very diverse. Some come in with a full education from someplace like UTI, 40-50K in debt and no mechanical skills but they can pass a test. Others come in with a mechanical background in something else, like bicycles, but have a good head and have a future in it if they want it.

    I have 5 kids of my own now, and we homeschool, so I'm the auto shop teacher. My oldest son, now 18 started helping me in the garage for real when he was about 10. Initially my biggest concerns were safety. Proper jacking of a car. Wear safety glasses when grinding. Be aware of yourself and what you are working on and around. Don't try to pick up things that are too heavy. Wear protective clothing. We started with working on the project I had going at the time, restoring a 240Z, doing what was necessary.

    He bought his first car at 13, a shell of a 1965 El Camino. It was running and driving by the time he got his license at 16 and he continues to race it and beat on it regularly which has given us opportunity to get into almost every system on it, rather than pay someone else to fix it.

    He has followed me into the field and taken a job at a local reputable shop.

    I had planned to go over the basic systems with my girls. Have them change a tire using the spare and jack from the car. Do an oil change once, so that even if they choose to pay someone else to do it, at least they know what they're paying for. How to check fluids and brakes.

    My oldest daughter is 15.5 and on her learners' permit. A while back I found a car for her for nothing. A 1996 Camry. O/T for here, but the price was right. The problem was it had popped a head gasket and overheated the engine. So we pulled it out and are rebuilding it, mostly her work with me to supervise and break loose fasteners she can't get. When we're done she'll have a nice reliable car for not much money and a lot of sweat equity.

    wicarnut, 120mm and loudbang like this.
  8. Bearing Burner
    Joined: Mar 2, 2009
    Posts: 898

    Bearing Burner
    from W. MA

    How to read a tape measure so they don't say X inches and 3 little marks.
    gijoe985, loudbang and Montana1 like this.
  9. 52lomofo
    Joined: Jan 29, 2005
    Posts: 674


    Go to a store they don't even know how to make change so easy to blame the parents what about teachers they have to get back to teaching instead of telling them to Google it so they don't have to explain
  10. SLAMIT
    Joined: Sep 9, 2002
    Posts: 930


    So many great suggestions here. it is hard not to get caught up with what we take for granted and mumble off the "kid didn't even know what a Phillips screwdriver was!" that is not the kids fault it is ours! simply put embrace the opportunity to give them the knowledge they need to succeed and do it the right way. like a completely bone stock 32 roadster that not one other soul has destroyed with their way of "right"
    Starting with the absolute basics of both the vehicle and all of its important components and where they are as well as the basic tools needed to service these. Do not complicate things with tools that will be used once they graduate to higher levels. you get 40 minutes a day. Keep it simple. Very simple. Keep it fun. Very fun. This means use examples from all walks of the automotive life. Again swallow pride and cater to the common interests of the folks in the class. you can give your input on what you think is cool and why just don't tell them what they should think is cool because you'll lose em quick.
    Cars are awesome and they are a huge part of our lives. Encourage them to make it a huge part of theirs. Also if you can contact a local dealership and see if they can send out a shop foreman or service manager to give a quick talk about the automotive world and its "many" available careers, and what it means to be a part of such great brands that we have available to us today.
    I Myself being the Shop Foreman of a large Audi Dealer in the San Jose CA area have been putting together some things to present to local schools with auto shops. unfortunately around here they are a dying breed. If you have any more questions or concerns feel free to ask. I love this topic and could go on for days about it.
    wicarnut likes this.
  11. I second the TURN OFF YOUR PHONE! Then you will have there full attention. That will either make them or break them.

    Then, make it fun! Take them to a car event as a class trip or social gathering to get them involved and perk their interests. Cruise night, car show, drag race, etc.

    Better yet, take them for a ride in your hot rod as an achievement award! Explain to them that they can all do this too, if they put their heart in it. (My 2 bucks.)
    wicarnut, loudbang and HellsHotRods like this.
  12. H380
    Joined: Sep 20, 2015
    Posts: 451

    from Louisiana

    MATH. MATH. MATH. Its practical application. Using fab work on cars would be perfect. The kids will be taking Geometry , Algebra and Trig in High School anyway. I wish I was taught how to USE Geometry and Trig in real world. I would have actually understood what I was studying. I was never taught how to use Trig in the real world. Until I started doing machine shop work. You can figure out damn near everything using triangles.
    wicarnut, 120mm and bct like this.
  13. Rex_A_Lott
    Joined: Feb 5, 2007
    Posts: 1,019


    I had thought of posting something similar. I know I hated math in high school, it wasnt until I got in the Navy and they taught us what the practical applications for it were, that I came to appreciate it. You should have seen me when the light turned on about ratios and percentages and how they related to gears and tires, etc.
    I know we get frustrated with the kids and their phones, but you have to admit they a have whole world of information right at their fingertips....stuff that I would look for a half a day at the library, they can find in seconds. Again, they have a wonderful tool, if they would just stop using it as a toy.
    120mm and Montana1 like this.
  14. sunbeam
    Joined: Oct 22, 2010
    Posts: 5,099


    I am involved with the local high school auto class Basic electricity is a must. Also you would be supprised how many times you have to say if you turn it the other way you will have better luck. It is a great place to show them how the stuff from their other classes helps them in the real world. Things have changed when I was in high school a car was your prised possesion now not so much.
    Last edited: Jun 12, 2017
  15. So much great info here but I have to agree that you start with the very basics. TOOLS! What are they, what is the proper name, how to properly use them. Teach organization, neatness, cleanliness, etc. Very basic. Don't forget safety and personal protective equipment.
  16. jimmy six
    Joined: Mar 21, 2006
    Posts: 8,024

    jimmy six

    To walk and chew gum at the same time would be a good start.
    Montana1 likes this.
  17. HellsHotRods
    Joined: Jul 24, 2009
    Posts: 1,348


    Most kids and adults don't know how to change out a tire and install the spare .... that's a good place to start

    And turn off the damn cell phone !!
    Montana1 likes this.
  18. c-10 simplex
    Joined: Aug 24, 2009
    Posts: 1,330

    c-10 simplex

    i guess tires and brakes. How to mount, balance. What causes vibration----tires out of round, distortion etc.

    But the problem is that cars and car culture is changing; The idea of buying something used and screwing with a carb/distributor are generally gone. Cars have been fuel injected for the last 25, 30years.

    Maybe back in the 60's-70's everyone was into cars. Now, everyone's into phones.

    i guess ask what they, specifically, want to learn about, and then go from there. This might very well spur further interest, making them want to learn more and so on and so on and then it's a cycle that feeds itself. Now, they're addicted.
    Last edited: Jun 11, 2017
  19. My 2 cents worth,use the KISS method if you tackle a project car with the kids,using your words you have a limited amount of time every day and for a few months.

    I caught Hell from a lot of members when Bonneville High School teacher ask what we thought about his purposed chopped and modified project which he hoped the students could complete it before graduation.

    That was in 2012 and to my knowledge the car has yet to see the road.

    This was my comment at that time.

    Remember,,the Hamb is a traditional hot rod site,we don't care for the rat rod mentality nor the style.

    Your profile says,,,The goal is to build three rat rods for the high school to run in the parades and to show off at the car shows.
    1) 1951 4 door Cranbrook = convert to a two door and chop 3 inches and angle the back window forward

    If you are in the position of having the kids to look to you for guidance teach them the right way and don't go for shock value.

    You can use the Cranbrook to build a simple usable car and not go so overboard trying to create a James Bond clown car,,if you inspire them with something they can finish during the school year they will be more motivated.

    Of course,,this is just the opinion of a old greybeard,,you can take it with a grain of salt,but I'm sure a few guys & gals here will agree with me. HRP
  20. Four stroke cycle theory, how to use hand tools and what they are correctly used for

    Sent from my iPhone using H.A.M.B.
  21. 120mm
    Joined: Mar 31, 2017
    Posts: 65

    from Iowa

    Do us a favor. Stay the hell away from kids who might want to work on their own cars.

    Jackasses like you are the assholes that talked me out of working on my own cars when I was a kid. While my dad put me to work in his machine shed, because I had physical issues that kept me out of the fields, he took every opportunity to point out how bad I sucked. As did every worthless fucking mechanic at the commercial shops we did business with and teacher in school, never mind the other kids.

    I grew up knowing I sucked at mechanical work, because I had physical issues, and just took longer to develop than the other kids. Ask me how hard it is to develop as a mechanic because folks with native talent and low IQs like to put someone down because they don't "get it" right away.

    Despite that, I am a certificated Airframe and Powerplant Mechanic and have R&R'd every part on my 1967 Mustang.

    I'd take an uncoordinated kid who is kind of inept, but motivated over some dipshit who is handy with tools, every day of the week.
  22. The most important thing Imo

    Realize that They don't know everything-

    How to figure out what they need to know. Then how to find the information they need. The "where" or "how" to get the answers.
    loudbang likes this.
  23. jimmy six
    Joined: Mar 21, 2006
    Posts: 8,024

    jimmy six

    Chill man....I talking about kids with the heads in a phone walking into walls. Try to get them to think of 2 things. As hard as I've tried with my grandson their interests are just not there. His dad and I are both gear heads and did not press him at all. He's finally showing some interest at 20. To get them to have interest it needs to start with them.... At least Marine boot camp took his mind off his phone for a while.
    Montana1 and loudbang like this.
  24. foolthrottle
    Joined: Oct 14, 2005
    Posts: 1,085


    When I was in HS I don't think anyone could have taught me anything, because I already knew everything My Mom suggested that while I still knew everything I should go out and earn a million dollars. How to use and understand a manual,.how to change a fuse, clean a battery terminal, properly change a tire, how to create nuclear fision.
    Last edited: Jun 12, 2017
  25. gijoe985
    Joined: Jan 7, 2015
    Posts: 172


    Wow, I posted this and forgot about it a few days. You guys are great! Well, I wanted to reply to everyone, but there is way to much to say.

    To start, I have been doing this 7 years and I have a great program. Though I only get 40 minutes, I've seen many kids take my class all 4 years and for multiple periods a day. Really, I want to rethink some of my program. I want to move a little bit of the theory from my intro class into my upper level class and get the intro kids some more hands on.

    Current intro lessons include- Safety, Basic Hand Tools, Vehicle ID (year, make, model, v8 vs i4, FWD vs RWD, etc), Component ID (what is a _____ and what does it do), how to lift a Vehicle, Fluids, Tires, Maintenance, and reading a Chilton/Haynes manual. I'd like to keep most of that, but move some of the theory up, and find ways to do more hands on lessons. What I've always wanted to do, but lack the time, is build a "widget" which requires them to use a variety of tools to assemble and disassemble. Teaching 1 kid is one thing, finding creative ways to teach 24 is tougher. How to keep them all busy and working, but with only X amount of supplies and tools.

    I'm also a pastor, so I stay very busy.

    As for COOL stuff. We have a 49 Ford Custom , 3000gt VR4 Twin Turbo, a (potentially) 400hp+ Eclipse GSX (4cyl turbo) , and a 74 nova we are building. And more... And general work cars. So I'm trying to keep them interested with some fun projects for the advanced kids. Hoping to get go karts too. Something small they can work on and learn bleeding breaks and alignment.


    1) I'm working on making my own youtube channel. I don't always have time to show them stuff so I make the videos and they have the links to look up on their phones (the phones can be a blessing too. We don't need to get rid of them, we have to teach responsibility... kinda like a gun... we don't get rid of them, we teach how to use them properly)

    2) I used to have a guy helping. I have a lead on another. That'd be sweet.

    The local junk yard let us take a bunch of brakes off of cars getting crushed. I had the students weld up some stands and we mounted the brakes on the stands so qe no longer would have to practice on real vehicles. At least they can cut their teeth on the bench units before I let them do a real car.

    I also teach wood shop. I hit measuring HARD. In fact, they have to play a computer game where they have a countdown clock and have to click points on a ruler. Three strikes they're out. It is pretty rigorous.

    loudbang and Montana1 like this.
  26. jnaki
    Joined: Jan 1, 2015
    Posts: 5,243


    Hey Slam,
    There was a kid here on the HAMB that said his HS in Fremont was closing the Autoshop program. But he was putting on a last ditch effort with little to no luck. It is a dying breed, but geez... Fremont was the center of GM production for many years and then NUMMI, etc. Since you are just down the freeway, ask him to get you in contact with his outgoing auto shop teacher. The kid's name was Jacob or something like that...
    If anyone could remember that thread that was here on the HAMB, it would make it easier...

    The more programs that are saved, the more mechanically minded/knowledgeable people will be on the freeways with their cars. Then, the hot rod species or those interested in cars will continue for a long time.

    I went to school at SJSC and bought my first El Camino that came from the Fremont Factory. I had the 65 El Camino and showed it the GM birthplace, just for kicks...ha !
  27. foolthrottle
    Joined: Oct 14, 2005
    Posts: 1,085


    You mention you are a Pastor, well I can tell you, it is only through the grace of God that I'm still here. If you teach them nothing else, teach them SAFETY, at least a couple of days just for jack stands.
    anthony myrick and gijoe985 like this.
  28. gijoe985
    Joined: Jan 7, 2015
    Posts: 172


    We've had a few close calls. I do my best and He covers the rest.
  29. Rex_A_Lott
    Joined: Feb 5, 2007
    Posts: 1,019


    It sounds like you have a good handle on what you need to do, the fact that you have some that are hungry for more says a lot.
    I have an old 74 Nova that I quit driving, it was going to be a dirt car. I'd give it to you, if you werent 3000 miles away, but its not worth the cost of shipping. PM me if you need any bits and pieces, it is more or less intact, except for the running gear. Good Luck
    loudbang likes this.
  30. Most states have standards for what needs to be taught. In Mass vocational falls under chapter 74 Department of education. I have been teaching vocational cabinetmaking for several years. The state dictates pretty much what needs to be taught and competency is tracked. The stuff that needs to be taught (curriculum) is arranged as some of you suggested safety first, then basic skill, advanced skill etc.... This arrangement of curriculum is known as a curriculum map. Our school has a week of academics and a week of shop alternating. As an example 9th graders come to shop and are taught 1 to 2 hours theory in a classroom and then spend the rest of the day working hands on a project. The school day is 6 hours long.
    That being said, the state tells you what you need to cover but you come up with the lessons to teach it.
    Just my 2 cents worth!

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