Design with Empathy @ Working Bikes

Juniors in the Design & Engineering class talked to bike expert, Andrew at Working Bikes in Pilsen to learn about the mechanics of bikes and the purposes that different types of bikes serve. In the second unit of this STEAM course, students have been pursuing the guiding question, how are bikes designed and engineered to solve specific problems?. In their pursuit of an answer, students have been studying the concepts of weight, speed, acceleration, velocity, and mass and their effects on simple machines such as the wheel, the axle, and the pulley. To gain a better understanding, the students visited Working Bikes where they prepped bikes to be transported. Working Bikes gives new life to discarded bicycles and distributes them as tools of empowerment to local and global communities.

On the day the students visited, a shipping crate was waiting to be filled and shipped to the Kingdom of Lesotho in Africa. Andrew, the volunteer coordinator at Working Bikes showed the group how to prep the bikes and they got right to work. The experience was informative and extermely humbling.


The purpose of this Field Experience is to investigate the guiding question, how do bicycles impact lives?. The students talked to experts to investigate the evolution of bikes and how they are put together so that they can then design a bike that suits a person’s specific needs.


The students talked to bike shop employees about the parts that make up a bike, their purpose, and the choices designers make when choosing to use certain parts over others.