At the start of term a lot of my classes are about setting up good practice and briefing the kiddy winks on health and safety. Once the projects do get under way though a lot of the first stages are about repetitive tasks that simply require kids to get there heads down and learn how to quality control there own work, sanding, filing those kinds of things (not all classes are like this before you non-crafty types get all huffy). In my experience kids get a bit arsey if they see you sitting with your feet up or doing paperwork while they are busy sweating over bits of wood so over the years I've found that if I'm working at the same time they are then they tend to be a little more enthused. The easiest thing to do is to make the same project they are but I have made so many of these that it's less than attractive so I occasionally start doing something a bit different. This has the advantage of keeping my skills up to scratch (I'm not a trained wood worker being trained as a designer and any skills I do have I've had learn on the job, my brother is a time-served cabinet maker so wood working must be in the gene's somewhere) and encouraging the inquisitiveness of the kids I'm teaching. So this term I have been making an Automata. I moving wooden toy. The reason I'm putting it on here is cos it's going to be a a Knight on a rearing horse. You can see the internal workings on the pic above.
As you turn the handle (I've taken it off so that it'd lie down flat) the horse rises up on it's rear legs. A linkage ensures that the head and font legs stay level. It's actually the knights body that is being pushed up and his legs that pull the caparison up.