Pedal-Power: The Construction of a Human-Powered Bike as an Example of Alternative Energy Liz Friedman, Nick Grout, and Mike Sweeney

Why we pursued the grant?

The three of us pursued the grant after having much success with the “Green Monster “project which converted a diesel engine car into one that runs on vegetable oil.  With our society becoming increasingly aware and supportive of alternative energy sources, we feel that providing students with tangible ways for them to embrace sustainability will benefit and inspire them in our progressing energy world.  We saw how working on the “Green Monster” project was something that the students would never forget, so we decided to join up again to work on another project this year to show how a specific form of electricity conversion works within a green context.

What was our motivation?

Our motivation to do this project is based in knowing that working on a DSEF grant gives us the resources to dream up innovative projects for students to participate in.  We are able to work in and across our disciplines (science, technology, and media) to show students how the subjects all fit together.  Further, we feel this interdisciplinary approach is reflective of how projects are undertaken in a career setting, therefore providing students with valuable experience problem-solving and working as a team as would be done in a typical workplace.   We are also motivated by being able to share our work with the entire school: At some point everyone is involved as a participant or an observer when we present the final project.  Lastly, inspiring students to be more earth-conscious and fostering a sense of school eco-responsibility are other major motivations of this project.

What do we expect to achieve?

We expect to give students an experience beyond books and lectures with our DSEF grant.  We expect to achieve an experience that not only uses our classes in a multi-discipline lesson, but also provides the students with something that they will remember when they leave the class.  We strive to trigger a response that they will bring home and talk about at the dinner table, something they will get excited about and share with others.  We also hope to show students how they can be proactive with the content they learn in separate classes so that they can apply information, instead of just memorize it.  Lastly, we hope to contribute to our students’ knowledge of pressing environmental issues and their ability to work towards positive and realistic solutions to these issues.

Is the event underway?

We will be working on this project the last half of the year.