Spearheading an online Pedal Power Curriculum wiki for educators and nonprofits

Posted on August 21, 2009

Above, a lesson about the environmental impact of biking versus other modes of transportation.

Above, a lesson about the environmental impact of biking versus other modes of transportation.

Schools love our bike blenders because they literally break the ice with kids, opening their five senses to important lessons about nutrition, energy conservation, and fitness.

But while there are few tools that are as effective a starting point for such lessons, educators have been on their own coming up with the actual lesson plans and content.

But now we are leading the effort to create an online Pedal Power Curriculum, one that combines scientific rigor and structured lesson plans with the wow! factor of bike blending and human power. Because we’ve chosen a wiki as the editing system, anyone can contribute to it.

Heading up this work has been Chris Tom, a Rock The Bike alum who recently left to work at a BioChem startup. Above Chris demonstrates the concept of torque: a load is easy to carry on the shoulder, but at arm’s length makes his muscle bulge. The Pedal Power Curriculum is loaded with cool visual and tactile examples like the one above.  It also uses the bike blending experience as a starting point, to demonstrate concepts like gear ratios, friction, aerobic / anaerobic excercise, and many more. Surf on over and check it out for yourself.

Students from ESLI learning about pedal power in the Rock the Bike workshop by you.

Another inspiration for the Pedal Power Curriculum has been Rock The Bike‘s work with the ESLI program in San Francisco (Environmental Service Learning Initiative). It was the experience of bringing ESLI students from Lincoln High School to our workshop that helped us realize how a bike blender can get students involved in a hands on way.

A bike blender is a simple, affordable tool for learning about human power. Another awesome teaching tool is a pedal power generator, so we’ve included lessons in the Pedal Power Curriculum that have to do with pedal powered electricity. If you want to teach these sections, we there is fortunately a generator accessory that fits into any Fender Blender base without tools. The Pedal Power Rig shown above is one example, installed on a Fender Blender Xtracycle, powering the Envy green Down Low Glow light.

What’s exciting is that you as a fellow pedal power educator can contribute to this online curriculum, improve it, and participate in passing tips back and forth with other bike culture heads, science teachers, nonprofit folks, etc. Please use the link above, create an account, pitch in, and spread the word. As with other Wikis, the work is not complete and your contribution will make a difference. We chose the Wikispaces tool because it’s easy to use and widely used.

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