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Pedal Power

Kid riding bikeIn this activity, small groups of students in grades 3 to 8 learn about forces, energy, and efficiency by measuring a bicycle’s gear ratios, calculating tire revolutions, and testing who can ride a course the swiftest based on that information.

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A Bike For Leah

Ohio State grad students with Leah's bikeLeah Xiao-Chan O’Keefe wanted a “big kid” bike but she couldn’t shift gears or brake safely because her fingers did not extend past the first knuckle. An Ohio State University mechanical engineering professor heard Leah’s story and put two of his graduate students, both avid cyclists, on the case.

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Build a Bike Helmet

bike helmetStudents in grades 9 and 10 are introduced to the biomechanical characteristics of helmets and challenged to incorporate them into helmet designs. They come to understand the role of engineering associated with safety products – in this case protecting the brain and neck of a bicyclist in the event of a crash, with the design dependent on the user’s needs and specifications.

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What Are Gears?

education appIn this activity, students in grades 4 to 8 use LEGO spur gears to learn about different types of gears and how they are used in many engineering devices, including bicycles, to change the speed, torque, and direction of a power source.

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Give Me a Brake!

Bike brakeIn this activity, students in grades 3 to 6 learn about force and friction by examining how basic rim bicycle brakes work and discussing the advantages of various designs. They then use low cost materials to devise a simple braking system, suggest improvements to current bicycle brake designs, and present their recommended changes to the class.

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