Stu­dents as­sem­bling elec­tric bike

Le Messager Verdun - - LA UNE - IRENE RUBY PRAKTA

EDU­CA­TION. As the last of the snow melts, cy­clists all over the ci­ty are get­ting their bikes out. For a group of cy­cling en­thu­siasts at Beur­ling Aca­de­my in Ver­dun, this sea­son will be es­pe­cial­ly mea­ning­ful. Stu­dents will be tes­ting a bike they built them­selves.

The eight mem­bers of the Mo­to Pro­to Team have been wor­king since Oc­to­ber, spen­ding most lunch­times and week­ly af­ter-school ses­sions de­si­gning a mo­to­ri­zed bike and buil­ding it from spare bi­cycle and po­wer tool parts.

“Bi­king and bike paths are some of the unique fea­tures of our neigh­bou­rhood, and the kids wan­ted to en­cou­rage people to bike,”says fa­cul­ty ad­vi­sor Si­mone Vi­ger. ”They wan­ted to create an elec­tric, non-pol­lu­ting bike.”

Wor­king with Car­re­four Jeu­nesse-em­ploi (CJE) Ver­dun, the stu­dents wrote and pit­ched a pro­po­sal and se­cu­red an en­tre­pre­neur­ship grant from the Les­ter B. Pear­son School Board and gui­dance from a pro­fes­sio­nal bike me­cha­nic hi­red by the CJE. The stu­dents are pre­pa­ring to show their pro­gress at Ri­ver­view Ele­men­ta­ry School’s STEAM (Science, Tech­no­lo­gy, En­gi­nee­ring, Arts and Math) show­case on May 10.

At a recent af­ter-school ses­sion, one group of stu­dents was lear­ning to sol­der bat­te­ries while others tes­ted the mo­tor of the part­ly-built bike in the middle of the room. Me­cha­nic Emi­lia­no San­chez and CJE Ver­dun ad­vi­sor Ro­bine Ka­se­ka im­po­sed or­der on the am­bient chaos.

Grade 11 An­tho­ny Che­lia­pin, the se­nior student on the team, cau­tious­ly tes­ted the mo­tor com­po­nents at­ta­ched to his old bike, which he do­na­ted for the pro­ject. “Up un­til March Break, we just plan­ned out the pro­ject,” he ex­plai­ned. “I knew a bit about the tech­no­lo­gy in­vol­ved, be­cause of an en­gi­nee­ring class I took in Grade 10. “I lear­ned a lot from Emi­lia­no as he was hel­ping us build the bike.”

LEAR­NING PROCESS

“I know a lot about elec­tric bikes, but I had ne­ver made one,” San­chez said. “I’m lear­ning at the same time as the kids. I had seen some vi­deos on You­tube where people had made mo­to­ri­zed bikes with po­wer tool mo­tors...but I no­ti­ced they we­ren’t using the same kinds of bat­te­ries as we had. There’s a lot of pro­blem sol­ving in­vol­ved.”

“I love the idea of get­ting kids in­ter­es­ted in bike me­cha­nics,” he adds. “I have a ve­ry long bike com­mute and work long hours; I would love to have a bike like the one we’re buil­ding.”

Team mem­ber and Grade 7 student Tho­mas Clay­bourn hopes to go in to en­gi­nee­ring. “I wan­ted to get in­to an en­gi­nee­ring ac­ti­vi­ty, and I wan­ted to do it with my friends,” he says. “I lear­ned a lot about mo­tors and wi­ring...the on­ly thing is, I wish we had more time.”time is run­ning short, with the STEAM show­case on­ly a few weeks away, and the stu­dents will dis­play a work in pro­gress ra­ther than the fi­ni­shed bike. Ho­we­ver, nei­ther the stu­dents near San­chez want to stop there.

“We’re not going to let this stop us,” San­chez says, as a mo­tor whirls in the back­ground.

“[The stu­dents] want to keep going with this pro­ject, there’s been some talk about set­ting up a bike shop in the school,” says Vi­ger, the school ad­vi­sor. “It’s a dream, but dreams do come true.”

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