Metalworking is an elective course taken in high school that lets students express themselves, much like in art or photography, by manipulating metal to create different things. Metalworking projects can be completed individually or with partners for more intricate work. Grading of projects should be based on ability to follow instruction and effort as well as skill of the finished project.
Creating medieval style armour is a popular choice in high school metal shops. Beginning students can use sheet metal to build helmets, leg plates and shields while advanced students can use smaller pieces of metal to create more complicated projects like hand guards and chain mail jackets. Sheet metal projects involve taking large pieces of thin metal and bending them to form a desired shape. Additional metal can be melted on top of the armour to thicken it. Advanced projects like the chain mail jacket involve linking hundreds of metal loops together in an intricate fashion.
This is a simple project for beginners and students who have extra time before the end of the semester. Let the students pick a shape that can be as basic or as intricate as they can handle. A tree stump is a good example for a basic paperweight that also lets the student practice his welding skills by melting the metal to look like bark. Short paperweight projects can be part of the graded curriculum and work well as extra credit assignments.
A bracelet is an easy introduction to metalworking. Bracelets let students express their creativity while helping the educator gauge each student's level of skill. Bracelets can be made out of a variety of metals and can include engraving, holes or welding designs. Encourage students to use multiple metals or different metalworking tools to create the finished product. In addition to a gauging tool, bracelets make nice gifts for family and friends.
A basic tool box or tackle box can be made from sheet metal, a metal handle and a small lock that needs to be purchased separately. Students will use two pieces of sheet metal, which will be cut and bent into a rectangular shape for the base and a half-hexagon for the top. Students will weld a small handle for the top and attach the lock to the front. The box can be painted or finished with a sealant.