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Mentoring a Greenpower Race Team: Episode 5 – Car unboxing

Siemens Valued Contributor Siemens Valued Contributor
Siemens Valued Contributor

I hope my previous, painfully long post was enough to help you work through establishing a team. Let’s more forward and assume you now have a car and some eager minds looking at a bunch of boxes. This will probably be your first time to do some good old fashioned mentoring. I remember this day well—it was like Christmas morning and we even had he local TV station cover this historic event. See the story at


While this will be an exciting day, you will need to do some management—otherwise it will be a chaotic unboxing fiasco and stuff will get lost. Before you begin, have the students address the following:


  1. How to unbox the car and not lose anything?
    1. Figure out how to catalog parts using the build sheets to help distinguish parts and when they will be used
    2. Where to store parts that will not be used until later (batteries, electrical parts)
  2. Walk through some of the major parts and their function?
    1. If you don’t know, chances are your students will. Let them take charge and teach others—just keep asking probing questions, such as:
      1. What are these funny bolts called with a hexagonal hole?
      2. What are these funny nuts called with the plastic inside?
      3. Why are the front suspension “a-frames” at an odd angle
  1. Where in the room will the car will be built?
    1. Have them think about where tools will be stored in relation to the build location
  2. HUGE STEP: What tools an supplies are going to be needed?
    1. Even though I had the students develop a list of tools to buy, I devised my own and had my schools buy these in advance—it makes no sense waiting for tools. I’ve include a tool/supply list that we used. As questions like:
      1. How to fill the tires with air?
      2. How to measure tire pressure?
      3. What if a wire breaks?
      4. What wrenches are needed?
      5. How to cut the steering tie-rods?
  1. How should they want to start the build process?
    1. Who will build the mechanical aspects?
    2. Who will wire the car up—now is a good time to look at the schematic (more on electrical later)?
    3. Who will start designing and planning the body?
    4. Who will look after the tools and suppliess?

Over the next several weeks, you will see obvious progress on the car, but building the car is the easy part. Body construction is probably the most challenging, time consuming and an unknown. Have the students devise a project plan where things can be done in parallel. Project plan 101 later.


See you next time


Kris Kasprzak