Around 20 Prep students from Community Day toured the UC Berkeley campus this Tuesday for the annual Prep field trip that occurs at end for the program. The goal of the field trip was to give students a first-hand experience to be on a college campus and experience the day-to-day life of a college student.

PiE debuted the Hovercraft project as the last activity of the day, a project that several of PiE’s newest staff members have been working together on in preparation for the students’ visit. The goal of hovercraft was to introduce both high school students and new staff members that you can create something fun with just a few physics concepts and everyday materials.

One of these members is Katrina Jiang; she joined PiE this semester and shares her experience working on the hovercraft: “The hovercraft project introduced me to not only basic woodworking tools and skills, but also the environment that teaches collaboration and cohesion within a team. I felt that, although I am still a novice at mechanical engineering related projects, my ideas were appreciated, taken into consideration, and sometimes implemented and that I made direct and productive contributions to the success of the hovercraft.”

The hovercraft works by creating a cushion of air underneath a circular piece of wood. The wood provides a space to sit on while the pressure from the air curtain on the wood balances out the weight of the person. The person on the craft can experience a gliding sensation as he or she is pushed across a smooth surface.