Our Newest Community Service Project – The Reno Bike Project, Project

We’ve finally kicked off our newest project. How I discovered this opportunity is part of the story. On a busy evening (they all seem that way lately) I made a quick check of Twitter happenings and saw this from David Laplante, CEO of Twelve Horses, a local web design and marketing company:

I had been searching for a project to go with our study of environment, climate, energy and community service. So after checking to see if this was a non-profit and a few other items … we had our project idea … well the students would have the final say, but I know them well enough. : )

Bikes, rims, frames, parts, all waiting for riders.

I met Kyle and Noah who are the guys behind the Reno Bike Project at a local pizza place and discussed their vision and the possibility of us helping out. That Saturday I met Kyle at the shop, had a look around, and snapped a few pics with my phone.

From the Project’s MySpace page:


The Reno BIke Project is committed to producing an outlet that will encourage all forms of cycling, including personal health, alternative transportation, cycling activism, as well as cycling arts and culture throughout the Truckee Meadows. We strive to progress Reno as a more eco-friendly, healthy, culturally rich and communal city through cycling awareness and improved resources.

After some initial science lessons on climate, where and how we get energy, a book about climate change, a story, out of our reading series no less about community service, and a discussion about various projects we’ve been part of, I told my students about the Reno Bike Project. I explained the RBP mission and that we could use our communication skills to mount a “marketing campaign” to pump up donations. The students were enthusiastic right from the get go.

The other learning pieces that go with this are health / childhood obesity (Nevada has one of the highest rates of childhood obesity in the country), the history of bicycles, recycling, air quality (smog), global warming and community service. This was why we Skyped Alan Levine last week in Iceland to learn firsthand about geothermal energy and the climate of Iceland. (Alan will visit face to face with my students this Wednesday BTW).

We took some time today to start using Diigo to archive web sites we are mining for information about all the topics mentioned above (see the brainstorm from our ActivBoard that we posted to our class wiki). Diigo is a local company here in Reno, and I’ve had initial email discussions with Maggie Tsai to help us out if needed.

Each group got a topic to focus on this afternoon. Due to my inexperience with Diigo, and because some of our laptops are older and run browsers that are older, we took 30 minutes to work our way to being able to post web pages to Diigo. Then we took another 25 minutes to try out and problem solve how posting and tagging work. They really did well. Next I’ll have each group analyze and critique which are their very best web site finds and then share them with the class. One of the classes’ early ideas is to set up a wiki with a clearinghouse of links to information about each topic.

Lots of forks for the road!

We’ve already set up a class visit by Kyle and a bike racing buddy of his next week. I know my students have never been around real bike junkies or racers or racing bikes and equipment, so this should be a new experience for them – and another writing opportunity.

Need a bike part? They might have it!

Learning is messy!


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