Pedaling to success in the Middle Years Program
July 29, 2006
This summer Chloe Sumison geared up to build herself a new bike.
As part of her personal project for the International Baccalaureate Middle Years Program she restored an abandoned Trek for a bike trip in New York.
The personal project requires students to create a finished product and document their learning process. It is the final assignment on the road to earning an international school certificate.
For Sumison, the project fell into place during the summer.
"My whole family is into biking and I knew we were going on a trip and I wanted a new bike," she said.
The project started when her father brought home a rusted old bike.
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"He was originally going to make it for me I was like, ‘You know, what I want to make it,’" Sumison said.
With the help of her mentor Cory McNeely and Sumison’s father they began to dismantle the bike and look at what needed to be replaced.
"We could have just left all of the parts that it had, but we wanted to buy new parts," she said, adding that she upgraded a lot of the parts and made it faster.
The project helped Sumison gain a better understanding of how her bike works.
"On your bike you just push a button and suddenly you’re in another gear," she said. "Just learning how the bike worked was cool because I never really thought about it."
After spending a few hundred dollars, Sumison had a new bike she could ride but it did not come without a lot of work.
"It was pretty difficult, I had to learn all the parts of the bike," she said.
The time commitment was about 20 hours of manual labor. But it paid off in late July because she recently took her bike on a trip to New York.
"I felt cool because I was like, "I made my bike and now I get to ride it,’" Sumison said.
Her family biked about 120 miles in the northwestern part of the state.
"It was really pretty, we went through the Finger Lakes," she said. "I just like getting out and riding my bike."
Now that she is home Sumison will start focusing on the next part of her personal project which requires her to reflect on the process and her learning style. After building the bike Sumison has discovered that she likes to immerse herself in projects that allow her to get her hands dirty.
"I think I learn through doing stuff with my hands and getting to see it and feel it," she said. "I just like to get in there and do it."