If you follow Poppyprint in Instagram you may have seen a few photos of my son T preparing his Gr. 10 Personal Project for school. My kids attend a public high school that runs teaches an International Baccalaureate program. In Gr. 10 there is a requirement that each student complete a self-directed learning discovery. They can choose any subject, activity or project they like as long as they document their learning in a process journal, a 1500 word essay and ultimately a showcase one evening at school.
Some students made snowboarding videos. Several learned how to play a new instrument. One girl perfected the souffle. My son made homemade lightening.
Behold, his 12,000 volt Tesla Coil in action.
Yes, that is a compact fluorescent bulb on the end of a wooden pole illuminated by the electricity in the air at the end of the video!
We are super proud! This was not a simple "watch a YouTube video and get instructions off the internet" project. He has spent hours and hours and hours of his weekends researching, acquiring parts, building the structure, soldering the capacitors, winding the copper wire primary and secondary coils and learning the electrics. We are lucky to have some engineer friends who confirmed safety requirements (phew!) and a plumber who helped with wholesale parts. T purchased the transformer off eBay from a guy in Texas! He was able to use equipment in the school wood shop to cut a lot of his supports (thank you IKEA cutting boards). It was great to see the enthusiasm of the adult friends and teachers who supported him over the past 6 months. I must admit I had doubts at times - it just seemed so daunting. His stick-to-it-iveness is truly inspiring. He already has plans for a Tesla machine that fires to music!
As for me: I made a Weekender bag. Go mom! (more on that later)