A Curious Encounter

Last week our local paper featured an article about a man in our area named Ben. Ben has converted a bicycle to an electric bike by mounting batteries and a motor on to the front wheel. For his next project, he converted a motorcycle to all electric. Finally, he converted a small car to all electric. His mileage for each vehicle is 60-70 miles per charge, which makes each of the vehicles practical for short trips in our area. If you convert the energy used to travel 60 miles using electricity, it comes to about 300 mph of gasoline. Recently, Ben lobbied our city council and convinced them to put in a charging station for electric vehicles behind city hall.

I called Ben and spent about an hour meeting with him at a local coffee shop. I found him to be a fascinating person. We spoke about maker spaces and how important they are in learning. I also found myself reflecting on my shortcomings in regard to learning. I consider myself to be a creative person, but when I compare myself to Ben, I see a fear of mistakes holding me back. The fear of injury when working with electricity. My lack of knowledge with electricity. He pointed out that these problems can be overcome by building knowledge in small steps.

I have resolved that I will begin this summer by building an electric bike using a kit. The best way to get something done is to DO it. Through trial and error I will succeed. We also spoke about how schools are great at teaching kids how to take tests. Where schools fall down is that we don’t teach kids to love learning, to create, to try new things, and that failure is okay. I was brought up in a traditional classroom and learned in traditional ways. What has made me the curious person I am today? I will have to do more thinking on this…stay tuned.

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