Steamboat elementary, high school students team up to build energy bikes
February 28, 2012
Steamboat Springs — When Cole Puckett successfully ran for student council president at Strawberry Park Elementary School in the fall, he told his fellow classmates they could use the power of their feet on a bicycle to power iPods, light bulbs and stereos at their school.
The energy bikes weren't a campaign promise, Cole said, but rather a creative idea the fifth-grader hoped he could bring from the pages of books to reality.
Three months later, he did just that.
"I did my best," Cole said Tuesday as the Steamboat Springs High School engineering club prepared to unveil the prototype energy bike the club built for the elementary school students. Students at Strawberry Park and Soda Creek elementary schools researched the benefits of the bike and successfully pitched the idea to the engineering club, whose members spent the past three months turning the idea into a reality.
And soon, students at Soda Creek and Strawberry Park will have four of the bikes that use an alternator to charge a battery capable of powering electronic devices.
"You only see this type of stuff in the movies," Strawberry Park student council vice president Chase Seymour said after he pedaled a small BMX bike mounted to a wooden frame and connected to an alternator. "It's pretty amazing."
The bike's chain fell off a few times, and there are a couple of other finishing touches to be made, but the engineering club promised the students they would have their first bike in about two weeks.
"It was really cool seeing a project as complex as this come together," said high school senior Wesley Williams, who helped design the bike. "It was neat to see how excited the kids got when they saw it working. We delivered."
Funding for the project came from an innovation grant Soda Creek fifth-grade teacher Cindy Gantick secured from the Steamboat Springs Education Fund Board. Additional funding came from the Yampa Valley Sustainability Council, which honored the project in December with an Educational Achievement Award.
Students in the high school engineering club also will design educational workbooks for the energy bikes that teachers at the elementary school can use to teach students about the renewable source of energy.
To reach Scott Franz, call 970-871-4210 or email scottfranz@SteamboatToday.com