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Archive of posts published in the category: education

Bike Austin | Bicycling Advocacy, Education, and Outreach in Austin, Texas

Action Alert: Cutting Projects

On this coming Monday, April 20, the Transportation Policy Board at the Capital Area Metropolitan Planning Organization will consider cutting already-approved projects, including some active transportation projects, to divert $600 million to rebuild I-35 in Central…

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Basic Guidelines on Safe Biking Now

It’s OK to ride your bike, but follow these tips to do so safely.

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COVID-19 Shelter in Place: What It Means for Austin Cyclists

Biking is more essential than ever. We also want to share that we’ve officially postponed Bike to Work Day until the fall, but May is still Bike Month and we’ll be offering some fun ways to engage those of you who still want to celebrate all things cycling.

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Bicycle Generator Project | Clean Energy Research and Education

Wind for Schools worked with several teachers who expressed interest in using bicycle generators to teach their students some fundamental concepts of energy and basic mechanical, engineering, and electrical principles. With this project we worked with K-12 and college students to organize hands-on design and construction of bike generators. We then used the bike generators in the classroom for fun demonstrations which increased students’ understanding and awareness of energy topics.

History of the project

In 2010, Jeff Hines, a local Flagstaff teacher who also served as the first WindSenator in Arizona, inspired us to pursue bicycle generators for use in K-12 classrooms. Shortly after, we learned of an NAU student, Matthew Petney, who had built a double-bike generator, which included a battery for energy storage and an inverter and outlet so normal 120-volt devices could be plugged into it. We purchased the system from Matt and shared it with several interested teachers and classes as an educational tool. Matt joined our team in fall 2011 to provide more technical guidance to our staff and our teacher partners in building bike generators, bike blenders, and more.

In fall 2011 and spring 2012, Marilla Lamb and Matthew Petney visited two of our partner schools (Flagstaff Junior Academy and Orme School) to build bike blenders and a bike generator with middle and high school students. The students were presented with the design challenge, as well as tools and materials, and worked with our staff to design and build the bikes. These bikes were used at several school events, and in the classroom the following year as a teaching tool.

In 2011, Marilla Lamb wrote a grant to NAU’s Green Fund to fund a bicycle-powered charging station (The Eco-Pedaler), complete with energy meters so students can see the energy they produce and the energy they use, and with transparent coverings so all components are visible. The project was funded and a team of students designed and built the bike during 2012. The completed charging station can be seen in NAU’s engineering building. Now, a team of senior electrical and mechanical engineering students are working on the second iteration of the charging station, which is also funded by NAU’s Green Fund to improve its usability and versatility.

Wind for Schools was awarded funding from the APS Leadership Grant program in 2012, and obtained nearly $5,000 to work with several teachers in Arizona at some of our partner schools to build bicycle generators either in their science classes or with their science clubs. Our team built these bike generators with students at Mount Elden Middle School, Coconino High School, STAR School, Williams High School, and Northland Preparatory Academy in Spring 2013. Several energy lessons accompany the bicycle generators that we built and worked with in K-12 classrooms.

Using the bike generator in your classroom

The bike generator is a great tool for explaining difficult concepts like energy, power, electricity, and energy conversions. When students use the bike generator, they get a physical, hands-on understanding of these


KSU Physics Education Bike Project

KSU Physics Education Bike Project

Scientific and Cultural Aspects of the Bicycle:

An International Pedagogical Project


This project is a multi-national effort to collaborate on the adaptation
and creation of pedagogical materials.  The bicycle, a highly developed
yet simple device, is the focus of this effort.  Students and faculty
are using materials developed in a variety of countries and creating new
materials using contemporary multimedia.  This effort began almost
15 years ago when Robert Fuller and Dean Zollman created the videodisc
Transformations featuring the Bicycle
at about the same time that the
PLON Project in The Netherlands developed the teaching module Traffic
and the British Open University developed a course on Materials and Structures
which featured the bicycle.  These efforts were independent of each
other.  Since that time we have worked to combine instructional materials
from these and other countries.


Web Site at the Unversity of Amsterdam

Contents of KSU Bicycle Project Web Site

•  Description
and Application of 2000-2001 International Exchange Program

•  International
Study & Exchange Program

    European Community. and United States students enrolled in one of the
    partner institutions will become part of an international team of students
    who will investigate various scientific and cultural aspects of the bicycle,
    and create multimedia instructional materials about their activities. The
    students will become part of a three-year effort that will link international
    students by computer and bring them together periodically to work face-to-face.

• Workshops
on the Bicycle in Science, Technology and Culture, 1995

    These workshop, held in Great Britain and The Netherlands, brought
    together science and technology educators  and multimedia experts
    from the U.S., Australia, and several European countries.  Together
    they developed plans for pedagogical, multimedia materials for teaching
    about the bicycle.  This effort led to the International Study and
    Exchange Program.  U.S. participation in these workshops was supported
    by the National Science Foundation.

• International
Conference on the Bicycle in Science Pedagogy

    This conference, held in Lincoln, Nebraska, was jointly hosted by the
    University of Nebraska – Lincoln and Kansas State University.  Multimedia
    specialists, researchers on the science and technology of the bicycle and
    physics educators worked to gather to lay the basic ground work for a series
    of lessons on the science and technology of the bicycle and their cultural
    adaptations in different cultures.  The conference was supported by
    the Association of Big 8  (now Big 12) Universities.

• Resources

• Bicycle

Principal Investigator at Kansas State University is Dean
  email: dzollman@phys.ksu.edu.

The project has received funding from the Association of Big 8
(now Big 12) Universities, the U.S. National Science Foundation, the European
Commission, and the U.S. Department of Education.

This page last updated on February 19, 1999

Copyright © 1999 Physics Education Group, Kansas
State University

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