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Cool bike learning activities

Old 10-22-17, 01:15 PM
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Srb88
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Cool bike learning activities

Hi. Basically, I teach cycle mechanics to disengaged students (14-16 yrs) to re-engage them with education, workplace and social skills. This is in a non-profit bike shop, in liaison with their school and the city council.

I've written a fairly solid 10 week course which covers bicycle maintenance and repair to a decent standard (repeated 3 x per year, with harder worksheets & questions for students who have done it once/twice already). From my experience of industry qualifications, it's not much less challenging, though they get from it what they will, depending on interest and attendance.

However, the activities in my course book only cover about 1/3 to 1/2 of the day as formal tasks all day would put many of them off. The rest of the day they strip parts for donation to other charities, assess/improve/refurb donated bikes for other charities to use and do some mandatory Maths/English on a laptop programme.

What would be good, is if I could have several less formal/educational but more 'fun' tasks to raise excitement/engagement levels a bit.

We have lots of used / scrap bikes and parts but are obviously limited in terms of health and safety, etc.

Any suggestions welcome!

(And please no comments about the deserving-ness or otherwise of the students).

Cheers!
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Old 10-22-17, 05:19 PM
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Joe Bikerider
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Sounds great to me. Here's a thought for you to consider. Have the students design and create what this crowd would call a "franken bike". You or they can pick a frame and clean it up. Then select parts that will work on that frame and work together to make a bike with a certain goal in mind. Like a commuter or a cruiser or racer or whatever, I think it's good to have a goal. If you have the space, draw out the frame on a table and layout the parts in their specific locations as they are collected. It seems to me there would be so many different problems that would need to be solved that it would be challenging and with a goal in mind a real good project. To me it sounds like a lot of useful fun.
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Old 10-22-17, 05:26 PM
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Another thought. I can see that having enough table space to layout frame outlines and place components would be pretty hard to come by. So how about some pegboard wall layouts. With a frame shape painted on the pegboard and some hooks to hang parts it would be really great to be able to stand back and see what's been collected and how it will have to fit together. As I said another thought.
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Old 10-23-17, 11:04 AM
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If it wasn't for music, art, photography, band and other artistic subjects I would have never even managed to graduate High School. I would recommend incorporating some artistic elements into your course. Figure out how to take great pictures of the bikes. Watch some bicycle themed movies & write about it. Paint some bikes. Can you do a marching band on bicycles? Make some bicycle yard art. There's a display in a park near me. Somebody took old bike wheels & wrapped aluminum foil between alternating spokes. Turned old wheels into wind vane propellers. Neat stuff. Be good. Have fun.
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Old 10-23-17, 11:10 AM
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Dunno if you do this or not, but one way to keep them is engaged is to let them keep the bike when they are finished. At least one of the co-ops near me do that.

Also leave the math/English for the schools. Focus on what you know.
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Old 11-04-17, 08:03 AM
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Hi all - thanks for the suggestions! Apologies for not checking in - been on half-term break.

Originally Posted by Joe Bikerider View Post
Here's a thought for you to consider. Have the students design and create what this crowd would call a "franken bike".
This is a good one and something to incorporate into their existing refurbs that they help do for other charities. As a stand-alone task they wouldn't necessarily have the knowledge or interest for creating wheat we'd consider a franken-bike, e.g. drop bar mtb, so it's best to mix it in as and when possible.

Originally Posted by ramzilla View Post
Make some bicycle yard art. There's a display in a park near me. Somebody took old bike wheels & wrapped aluminum foil between alternating spokes. Turned old wheels into wind vane propellers. Neat stuff. Be good. Have fun.
Art stuff is definitely good - I've looked up the wind vane idea and am thinking about how to incorporate it. Have had another art though detailed below.

Originally Posted by jefnvk View Post
Dunno if you do this or not, but one way to keep them is engaged is to let them keep the bike when they are finished. At least one of the co-ops near me do that.

Also leave the math/English for the schools. Focus on what you know.
Cheers - unfortunately we can't give the bikes to them as: they're generally working on them in pairs; even when serviced and checked, they might not be safe as they might be using perished tyres etc (more sellable stuff gets used on bikes for the shop and other paid contracts). It is something I will revisit though - if we could get a funding source we could make sure they are building up safer bikes.

Re Maths and English - it's an obligation unfortunately - most of it I build into the other tasks, e.g. measuring to size bikes, completing worksheets about the task they've just done. They're also supposed to do 20-30 mins on a computer programme. I was a school teacher before I escaped that world and this was one of the reasons I was employed (I suppose bike mechanic-ing school teachers willing to halve their salary are rare).

Anyway - so far I've come up with a few things (I need 10)

Exercise/fitness
- Using a turbo trainer to see who can get the top speed/power (plus have a go on a set of rollers - who can balance longest?!) x 2

Food tasks (microwave only)
- Making pre-ride food (porridge with choice of toppings)
- Making mid-ride food (energy balls/bars)
- Making post-ride food (smoothies)

Art tasks
- Make bike chain art (degreased chains, old rotors + super glue = ornaments to take home) x 2

Bike builds
- Build and try a fixie


Going to explore the weather vane idea and maybe a couple more - further suggestions most welcome!
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Old 11-04-17, 08:28 AM
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In the yard art category, more kinetic, consider something like this. We have one like it. My daughter
gave it to me for my birthday last year. Pretty neat in November storm winds.

https://www.bestnest.com/bestnest/RT...MaArF2EALw_wcB
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Old 11-04-17, 08:52 AM
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Originally Posted by bobwysiwyg View Post
In the yard art category, more kinetic, consider something like this. We have one like it. My daughter
gave it to me for my birthday last year. Pretty neat in November storm winds.
That's cool - though not sure how we'd make the frame - the 2D bits would be doable with tin snips and plastic bottles would work for the wheels.

I'm thinking we can do a version of this, except using clear plastic instead of stained glass and zip ties / wire instead of welding:

OK, I can't post URLs yet apparently.
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Old 11-04-17, 08:56 AM
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It's basically a rim, with cassette sprockets arranged inside, with 'stained glass' inside them.
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Old 11-04-17, 08:57 AM
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It's really cool
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Old 11-04-17, 08:58 AM
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And easy to make, yet time consuming enough.
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