The Best School Assembly Happens In The Ag Shop

December 04, 2019

The Best School Assembly Happens In The Ag Shop

Oglethorpe County FFA students found out that taking apart a small engine isn't just the puzzle factor. It's also understanding why each part is important to the engine function and what would happen if that piece was left off. Trial and error along with discovery are the best teachers when it comes to engine assembly. You'll be amazed how much your students will learn if you let them get frustrated but push them to keep moving forward.

Small Engine Resources

Briggs & Stratton is well known for its program of offering small engines to schools as a teaching tool, here's a link Briggs & Stratton OHV Engine Training Kit. (By the way, we shy away from affiliate links. We just want to help stressed out Ag teachers). If you just want to sharpen your skills then sign up for the Briggs & Stratton Power Portal. The only way you can truly pass on the knowledge to your students is when you take some time to learn the process yourself. Take advantage of what Briggs & Stratton offers and then share it with your students. Undoubtedly, one of your students will surprise you.  Boy or girl, you'll have student come back and tell you how much the small engines lab and working with tools inspired them to something greater.

Ag Shop for Small Engines

Unfortunately, Briggs & Stratton doesn't provide a class set of engines for free to Ag teachers anymore. Those days are behind us I'm afraid, but don't let your enthusiasm die there. When it comes down to it there are enough old lawnmowers in your community that you could collect enough for class. However, don't do the hunting yourself. Just spread the word to your students and parents of students. When they ask, "How can we help?". This is your answer. You can even make it extra credit for your students. The same goes for tool sets. Over time I'm sure your school will supply tool sets for use in the shop but in the mean time yard sales, estate sales, and donations are great places to get used tools. I know everyone wants new...I do too. That comes with time, but it's more important that their feet are in the shop learning a skill that will serve them as a home owner and/or in a career once they graduate high school. 

Where To Start With Small Engines

There is a perfect time to start small You'll never have enough engines, or tools, or some other necessity. Go with what you have. Only one engine? You talk and a student or two completes the step while everyone watches. Then onto the next set of students. Only one set of tools for four engines? The students shared glue, glitter, and scissors in elementary school so they have plenty of practice already. The key here is they must learn communication. They will have to plan out their shop time with the tools they can have access to. No, it's not ideal, but there are always lessons to learn beyond the mechanical skills. No matter what job they go into they'll have to learn to get along and prioritize their tasks. Your shop is a great place to solidify those interpersonal skills.

Take the time to make small engines a part of your class. It doesn't have to be perfect or even well planned. The key is to start and continue to move forward. You and your students can problem solve your road blocks and really have fun making the project work with what you have. You'll find in future years those were some of the funniest and best days as a teacher, when you had little but you and your students worked to make it interesting.
Does small engines still seem too daunting of a task? Take a look at How to Become Proficient in Ag Mechanics. You'll recognize the struggle and hopefully get inspired to push on. If you still need more help then take a look at what we have to offer. Small engine part ID is a great introduction into small engine disassembly/assembly. We also have lots more Ag Mechanics fun if you are looking beyond just small engines.