I knew they would be excited about using tools but I didn't realize how much. Those kids jumped in there and had a blast. Something as simple as operating a cordless drill to remove screws brought a huge sense of accomplishment to them. I have worked with them on different projects since they were Tiger Cubs (1st graders) and it often turned out to be boring to them. They were so involved in this project I didn't have to redirect them at all.
In our project, four boys tore down two condensing units. They worked in teams of two with me supervising. I decided to have them tear down condensing units only and not get into the indoor coils.
We will be selling the copper and the boys will get to keep the money for something special. They are planning to have a swimming party when summer comes. We hope to collect about $40 for their hard work.
We learned about conserving copper, removing and disposing of the oil in the compressors, and removing the capacitors. I also discussed the value of scrapping out metal and copper, as well as disposing of oil and capacitors properly so as not to have them end up in our landfill. The boys were aware of the critical issues about landfills and what should and should not be disposed there.
One of keys to this project being successful was planning ahead! Knowing that the weather was going to be rainy and cold, I pulled the units into my shop the day before and had them ready to be disassembled. I had all of the tools (hacksaws, drills, nut drivers, wire cutters) laid out, and enough of these tools so that each team had a complete set.
This was a great opportunity for the boys to learn about conservation, earn their award, and become familiar with the great trade of HVAC.
Publication date: 02/02/2004