Deer Run Elementary School fifth-graders had one task. They needed to figure out how to move students about 15 feet without touching the ground. So they built a hovercraft.

Deer Run Elementary School fifth-graders had one task.

They needed to figure out how to move students about 15 feet without touching the ground.

So they built a hovercraft.

Teacher Mac McNeil led the exercise, part of a special enrichment program to foster cognitive ability. About 27 students worked on the project, he said.

"It's amazing what Dublin kids can do," McNeil said.

Students brainstormed parachutes and ziplines before realizing they weren't viable options, McNeil said.

Then they came up with the idea for a hovercraft and searched the internet to learn how to assemble one.

The hovercraft took about two weeks to build, McNeil said.

He contributed a leaf blower from his house, and the class purchased other materials.

Excluding the leaf blower, the craft was assembled for about $60.

Students sit on a plastic chair fastened to plywood covered with laminate tile.

The leaf blower sits underneath the structure, blowing air into a shower curtain.

A paint can forces the air out. Pipe insulation is stapled around the perimeter.

Brady Williams, 11, said making and using the craft were the most exciting things about the project.

"It's fun to be hovering off the ground," he said.

Everyone contributed to the project, said Evan Houpt, 10.

His group helped staple the shower curtain to the bottom of the structure and stapled the pipe insulation around the perimeter.

"It's really cool," Houpt said.

A video about the hovercraft was put on the district's Facebook page, Houpt said.

"I think it's a good accomplishment," he said.

McNeil, who is a gifted-intervention specialist, said the project was part of a program focusing on flight.

Students are part of a special enrichment program designed to give students experiences they might not get in a regular classroom.

At one point, the shower curtain popped, said 10-year-old Delayney Stoner.

The material was inexpensive and not of optimum quality so it was easily replaced with a curtain made from a thicker material.

Stoner said riding the hovercraft was "kind of weird."

She described the experience as akin to getting off a treadmill after you've been exercising for a while.

Once you get off, "you feel like you're walking on air," she said.

ssole@thisweeknews.com

@ThisWeekSarah