Dream Bikes Give Students A Boost
Project gives lessons in art, science and engineering; students showcase "rides" at the Lowrider/Dream Bike Parade.
Written by Leslie Cranford
Community Collaboration“Seeing the excitement and enthusiasm on these students’ faces is a perfect reminder of why an integrated approach to STEM education is so important,” said John Chandler, a director of the T-STEM Center. “When you give students engaging opportunities to learn – like designing a lowrider bike – they remember the concepts forever. The School of Art is to be commended for reaching out to the students at Atkins with a project that combines art and science in a context that every middle school kid cares about – a really cool bike,” Chandler said. This year Future Akins-Tillett, assistant professor in visual studies, worked with Atkins art teacher Lyn Brown, science teacher Dawn Bullock and 48 of their students. Each student involved received a Schwinn StingRay, purchased by the T-STEM Center. Akins-Tillet says the partnership with the T-STEM center has helped take the project to new heights. “We have worked with LISD twice before, we just never worked with T-STEM. Problem solving is always a vital part of creativity. This year, with the help of T-STEM, we had working bikes to begin with which added emphasis on assembling the bikes, taking them apart and putting them together again the way the kids visualized them.”
Sharpening Skills; Problem SolvingBrown said that aside from being a great art project, one of the program’s objectives is to sharpen the students’ upper-level thinking skills and common sense, which would help them on a standardized test.
Thinking outside the box
Students have been working on designing their bikes and disassembling them for construction since March.
Texas Tech Visual Studies students, along with others, lent a hand to the students in “tricking out” the bikes for the parade.
Also participating in the parade is Texas Tech’s kinetics sculpture class, led by Will Cannings, associate professor of sculpture. Their recent creations focus on designing, rethinking and expanding on the concept of bikes and movement.
More LowRider Bikes
In collaboration with the Lowrider/Dream Bike Parade, doctoral student Kyle McQuilkin organized an exhibition of lowrider bikes in the Architecture Gallery (9th floor of the Architecture Building). The exhibition will not only showcase bikes by the Atkins students, but also bikes from local lowrider groups.
Read the full story in VISTAS | A Higher Form of Low Art
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