We had been using ProDesktop by PTC, to learn how to design mechanical parts. He was doing the tutorials along with his classmates. He worked out the idea in Lego parts. He studied the existing mechanism available from Park Tools. He designed the individual parts, and made an assembly in ProD. When he had the system Then he took the drawings and laid them out on wood and cut using traditional woodshop tools. The full assembly and process are visible on his wiki.
Michael did this project while he was a freshman or sophomore at Duxbury High School. It showed me both the incredible power of the design process, and the amazing things that can happen when you put powerful design tools into the hands of a motivated student. He is now a Senior in Industrial and Mechanical Engineering at Umass Amherst. Graduate school and a promising career figure are just a few of the things in his future. When he did this project many years ago, I could see many possibilities for the techniques and the student.
How do you use Make and Craft to help teach? Have these publications changed the way you see projects and education? Do you have success stories of students who have created amazing things or gone on to fascinating careers as Designers or Makers? Give them and your program a plug by posting into the comments or adding photos and videos of their work in the Make Flickr pool.