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
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
and Application of 2000-2001 International Exchange Program
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.
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.
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.
Principal Investigator at Kansas State University is Dean
Zollman email: email@example.com.
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
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