FLAGSTAFF, AZ - How do you teach students the costs of being constantly plugged in and where their power comes from? Make them earn the electricity with their legs.
Recent NAU environmental engineering graduate Marilla Lamb and a group of other engineering students had been struggling to teach school kids about complex physics concepts in the classroom. As part of the Wind for Schools program, she was going into classrooms and trying to explain things like energy, work and electricity.
"We were standing up in front of students giving textbook definitions," Lamb said. "The students' eyes were glazing over."
With help from a local school teacher, they came up with the idea to harness the power of a bicycle and turn pedal power into real electricity. Together with NAU students from the computer sciences and engineering programs, Lamb helped spearhead a program to design bicycle generators that could do things like power a blender.
"We wanted to get rid of this idea that electricity is just this magical thing that comes out of the wall," she said.
NAU's Green Fund gave the students a $2,900 grant to build a handful of the generators, which were then taken to classrooms. They even gave out smoothie samples on campus with a student on the bike nearby pedaling away.
In the engineering building, Lamb and the other students also designed a permanent bike by making use of a donated bicycle from the school's yellow bike program. Electrical and mechanical engineering students designed and built the enhanced bike and students working in the machine shop welded up the necessary structural components.
The permanent bike has a charging station where students can plug in cell phones and other small electronics to get some exercise and a little electrical juice during the school day. The catch: They have to do the pedaling themselves.
Lamb says the bike is very popular while school is in session in spite of the amount of work it takes just to charge a cellphone.
The group hopes to cycle the bike around campus through various buildings to help show students how much electricity they use.
Copyright 2013 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.
Click on the region names in the map below to see news from that region.
Things To Do
We’ve turned a corner! The weather is warming up so it’s the perfect time to get outdoors and enjoy some fantastic weather.
RIGHT NOW: Top Stories
A fire official said a man was grinding down a metal screw in a shop area where gun powder was stored and the gunpowder flashed, starting the fire.
Your odds of getting all six numbers correct for the second-largest Mega Millions jackpot are about 1 in 259 million.
When a single mom was assaulted inside her Michigan home earlier this week, she began preaching the Bible to her attacker and telling him, "God loves you, you don't want to do this."
Federal bus safety regulators announced that they have shut down 52 companies, including two in Arizona, in what they describe as a major nationwide crackdown on unsafe carriers.
Ethan Couch was sentenced to probation after he killed four pedestrians when he lost control of his truck while driving drunk, a punishment that outraged the victims' families.
Thinking of buying someone in your family a smartphone for Christmas, but that $199 price tag is a little too much? Walmart may have just stepped in to the rescue.