It’s All In The Details

What was your driving question?

How might we learn to detail a vehicle in preparation for winter and learn how to maintain it.

Grades Involved

9-12; Graduate

How did this project connect to your local or regional community?

Each student is familiar with the dust and dirt that accumulates on a vehicle in the fall of the year. They were able to learn the process of washing and waxing a vehicle and share that accomplishment with friends and relatives. This project made them aware of some of the techniques a dealer might use to improve the look of a vehicle before selling it. It also made them aware of the special weather conditions in the mountains that we live with and how they differ from other regions.

What PBE principles were highlighted in this project?

Project Description

The basic premise of the project was for students to learn how to detail a car/truck. They could use their own, borrow a staff’s vehicle or family member’s. We did this in the Fall of 2021 – luckily we had good weather. We used Fridays from 9:30 to 12:30 for 3 weeks. The goal was to have students engaged and enjoy learning a life skill. The students watched instructional videos and progressed through three checkpoints: Washing Exterior, Cleaning Interior and Waxing Process. This was designed to be a learner-centered project, with students selecting this project from others. Students were excited to make progress on their vehicles and could witness progress such as tire cleaner dissolving grime from their rims. Students learned how to use a pressure washer, soap to water ratios and processes. This project had a large reach because of the student’s networking with staff and family. We soon had many people excited to possibly have the students detail their car. Many of the students had never waxed a car before or did a thorough deep clean of an interior. They learned about cleaning chemicals as well as what can cause damage to a vehicles’ finish. The students documented their progress by making a slideshow with brief descriptions on each slide.

How did this positively impact the community? How was it shared?

All the parents and other students were able to visually see the students’ work as it was on display in the gas station parking lot. Students were proud of what they had accomplished and were eager to share with the whole community.

Reflection: What was the biggest challenge? What was the most rewarding aspect of this project?

Having materials set up and monitoring how we used our products. I purposely chose older students so that we would not damage cars. The most rewarding aspect was the students’ excitement over what they had learned; for weeks afterwards they would talk about how nice their cars looked. They were empowered by learning and that was the most rewarding part of this project.

Any advice for a teacher or student that is implementing a PBE project for the first time?

“Make sure you have enough tools and materials for all: 10 students need 20 towels, 10 buckets, 2 pressure washers, and 3 shop vacs.” – Teacher
“Now I have these skills to do this on my own.” – Student