South Canterbury students build mini motorbikes for the first time
Building mini motorbikes is not just a fun school project - it is encouraging students to stay at school longer, a Timaru Boys' High School teacher says.
About 40 year 12 metal work students started building mini motorbikes this term with hopes they will race at a national mini motorbike championships later this year.
Technology department head teacher Michael Howard believed they were the only school in the South Island to be building mini motorbikes for the North Island-based competition.
It was the first year for the project and the reaction had been fantastic, Howard said.
"If it wasn't for the project, some wouldn't stay at school."
Now some students would leave school with better qualifications and a mini motorbike, he said.
The class size rocketed from a class of 14 students last year to 40 students spread over two classes following the introduction of the mini motorbike project, Howard said.
It cost the students $480 to build the bike, which they could then take home afterwards.
The mini motorbikes would be built during the next three terms with the national championships starting at the beginning of term four.
Students would research and design their bike's chain tensioner and seat mounting, which taught a range of engineering skills, he said.
All the plastics, tyres, the motor and some other components were imported from China, while the students built the frame, Howard said.
Year 12 student Richard Coles,16, said his class was excited about the project and could not wait to take his finished bike home and mount it on a wall.
Building the bike would be a great way to remember his school days, Coles said.
Coles, who is a motocross rider, said his hobby attracted him to the project.