The Redbird Chopper is a kit that allows students to build a full-size motorcycle which can then be customized. It is made of plywood and held together with a few bolts. It is appropriate for grades K-12 and adults. Although it does not roll, the Redbird Chopper Challenge is an exciting and engaging vehicle to teach communication, teamwork, and problem solving skills, as well as specific STEM content.
The kit consists of the front and back wheels, frame, seat, handle bars, bolts, wrench, and fully illustrated instructions. All parts are clearly labeled. Adults can completely assemble the motorcycle in less than 20 minutes and spend another 40 minutes customizing it. Kindergarteners will require more time, but assembly is certainly not beyond their capabilities. Young students might need some help getting everything pulled together and tight.
The Redbird Chopper allows students to do something big. They will find that by following the directions and working together, it is possible to achieve something very impressive. Once assembled, the chopper can be customized with a cardboard gas tank, an aluminum foil headlight, a construction paper fender, etc. The options are limited only by the student’s creativity. The experience can also be customized to address specific educational content and skills including reading/following directions, working in a team, problem solving, forces, measurements, electrical circuits, aerodynamic drag, geometry, motorcycle design/construction, etc. When planning, start with teams of 3-5 people working on each motorcycle for 60-90 minutes. Of course, if more time is available, more aspects can be incorporated into the project. Contact CeMaST for ideas.
The Redbird Chopper kits are available free of charge to any school/organization within Illinois that requests them. Each organization is responsible for consumable items (cardboard, tape, construction paper, etc.) but these items will be of minimal expense. Due to funding uncertainties, we may need to charge for mileage. We are conducting research to assess the educational capabilities of this project. We ask that every teacher requesting delivery plan to spend about 30 minutes meeting with us on-line to discuss ideas for their use. We also request input on a program evaluation survey after implementation.
For more information about this project, please contact
Dr. Brad Christensen