Crankin' Engines
& Little Cranks

Frequently Asked Questions

Please read through this carefully before registering.
Students disassembling an engine.

Q.  Where are the classes held? (Host info)

A.  That depends on my lovely hosts! By that, I mean the people who provide a space in their yard, garage, church, or store for me to set up the (2) 6' tables.  I love my hosts! Camp dates are first-come, first-serve, and hosts can schedule a date and register at least one student to secure it.


Q.  So how much is it?

A.  That depends on how many students register. Registration is open until two weeks before class. On that day, the registered students will split the class fee. If the class is $1000, and there are 10 students registered, the cost will be $100 per student. The class fee is determined by how far the class is from Lewisville, NC. 
0-25 miles away - $1000
26-50 miles away - $1100
51-75 miles away - $1200
76-100 miles away - $1300
100 miles + - $1400+ (lodging allowance may be needed if over 150 miles)
Classes are capped at 12 students per class. There is no refund once registration closes and payment is due. Emergencies happen, and a payment can be transferred to another class within 12 months. Once registration is closed, no changes can be made, and you are responsible for paying the per student fee. If you would like to recoup your fee, please find another student to fill your spot and notify me via email immediately.

Q.  What does the class cover?

A.  In a nutshell, 4-stroke engine, disassembly and reassembly of a Briggs and Stratton pushmower engine, geometry, physics, chemistry, tools, and a touch of diagnostics.  Sometimes the engine will crank, sometimes it won't.  We source them from junkyards and friends to simulate what it's really like to tear one apart.  Sometimes we can fix it with extra parts I have. The anticipation on the last day of class is most of the fun!  Yes, it is entirely hands-on. I do have "homework" available if the parent would like to review with the student after class.

Q.  What do I need to wear?

A. Close-toed shoes, long hair pulled back, modest clothing that can get greasy and does not have loose strings.  No need to impress!

Q.  Can my child(ren) take the Crankin Engines class?

A.  If your child is 11 years old or older (that means 11-20), and are okay to be around other children, and don't have any bionic parts (pacemaker, etc.), then they are welcome!  Parents can stay and learn for free or drop and run.  See Little Cranks below for the 10 and under crew.

Q. How long is the class?

A.  Each class is a little different, as I fit it into my schedule, so it could cover 3 days for 4 hours for the older students, or 5 days for 2 hours for the younger group, but I'm flexible and try to do what works for the host.  I try to leave 10-12 hours for each class to give the students time to absorb and apply what they've learned.


Q.  What will the students DO in this class?

A.  They pair up with another student and choose an engine.  I go over safety guidelines, and we put on our protective gear, and talk about tools.  I assume all the students are completely new to all mechanics. Then they take turns, being helpful, removing the various parts of the engine, naming it, and determining its function.  Meanwhile, we discover the geometry, the physics, the chemistry, and the mechanics by doing it.  We meet Bernoulli and Faraday and discover the best Hangman word ever! Then, we reassemble. If we have enough time, the students will be able to take it apart themselves and  put it back together with only minimal guidance from me. We take 5-10 minute breaks at the top of the hour for chatting and rest stops. At the end of camp, students will crank their engines to see if they work! Parents are welcome and encouraged to participate.  We sometimes have snacks to celebrate and I present a Certificate of Completion to each student. If you want to get your student excited about class, you can see snippets on my page.


Q. What is Little Cranks?

A.  Like the name suggests, Little Cranks is the same small engine class, but for 5-10 year olds. It covers the same disassembly and reassembly, but without the focus on math, science, and diagnostics. We take it slower, and parents are required to be present and participate with their youngster. 


Q.  Will you be back in this area?

A.  Only if there are enough students to hold class and I have another lovely host!


Q.  Do we need to bring anything?

A.  Students can bring water and a snack if they'd like for break times. I take care of the the important stuff.  I supply safety equipment, gloves, tools, supplies, and the engines.  IF you would like to buy the tool sets we use for class (there are a few handmade tools that can be terribly helpful if the student intends to do this at home), you can purchase it for $80.

Q.  Can girls take the class?

A.  Of course.  I'm a girl.  I teach the class.   I've had at least one girl in most of my classes, and honestly, it changes the dynamics for the better.  If they are shy, have them grab a girl friend and come together!

Q.  Can I buy this curriculum and teach it myself?

A.  Of course!  Rankin Barnes created this curriculum in conjunction with Apprenticetown for such a purpose!  You can order on his website:  His facebook page does a great job of keeping you informed seasonally.

Q.  Can you come to my county?

A.  Sure!  Since I might not have contacts in your county, I will be happy to help you draw the students in any way I can - facebook, emails, or carrier pigeon.  Word-of-mouth and personal requests are always best.  

Q. Do you teach this anywhere else?

A.  I am teaching at Friendly Home Educators for the 2021-22 school year. Crankin is the first part for both classes - Middle School Mechanics and High School Auto Upkeep. See their website by April 2022 to register. 

Q.  What are some perks for taking this class?

A.  Besides the obvious, the student can also take this class any time in the next calendar year for free.  Parents can stay and learn for free.  This class is also a pre-requisite for my high school Auto Upkeep class, and that class is a pre-req for Applied Automotive.  Auto Upkeep is an intense 40 hour course that covers everything from financing or saving for a car to roadside repairs, and I usually teach it 3 days a week for 2 hours a day for two months (or at the co-ops as a year-long course).  Applied Automotive takes apart a real automotive engine and repairs it, and usually takes two to three weeks of 6-8 hour days.  So, you have the potential for having an awesome mechanical line up of classes at your disposal!

Q.  What camps are available?

A.  You can click the link below to see what is open currently, and you can see this post on my facebook page for the most updated information, too:

Q.  How to do I register?

A.  New for 2022! Fill out this google form to register your student for class:  

You can register for class up until two weeks before the class. At that time, registration is closed, and the class fee is split between the registrants. For example, a camp beginning June 7 would take registrations until May 24. The class fee would be divided by the number of students, and an email is sent to participants. Payment would be due May 25. There are no refunds. Once registration closes, no changes can be made, and you are responsible for paying the fee for your student the next day. I do not send confirmation emails (you can choose to have the Google form send you a copy), but I do email you a few days before registration closes, and again the close date with the payment amount.

Q.  How do I pay?

A.  You can pay using debit or credit via electronic methods (PP, Venmo, Zelle, or Quickbooks invoice), or send a check or money order to MechaniChics, LLC at 116 Lowes Foods Dr #243 Lewisville, NC 27023. Be sure to include the class location and student's name with your payment. Payment details are on the registration form. Payments will not be accepted until 2 weeks before the first day of class, when registration closes and the per student fee is determined. Checks must be mailed the same day to arrive in the next two business days. **New: there is a $5 late fee for payments not received on the payment date.


Q.  What if we have an emergency or illness after we've paid for camp?

A.  No worries! Thanks for not spreading the illness. Feel free to apply that student fee to any of my other Crankin Engines camps in the next 12 months. Let me know via email if you can't make it, and let me know which one you'd location you'd prefer for the make-up camp, even if it's full. AND, you can still take advantage of the free camp in the 12 months following the one your student attends.

Q.  Are there any discounts for multiple children?

A.  Because of the new class pricing format, siblings are all the same price.

Q.  How do I know if there is space in the class I want?

A.   If the class is still listed on the registration form, there is still space.


Q.  What if I have more questions?

A.  Send them to me!  mechanichics [at]

What People Say

Jeanette W.

"My two sons took the Crankin Engines class by Mandie. They both appreciated her no-nonsense approach. The class was clear and the engine work was well laid out and explained. I would consider it a great success. One of my sons has moved on to interning with an auto mechanic this year. Our family would highly recommend it!"

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