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Thursday, February 28, 2013

Week 6: Time for Tear Down!

Probably one of the most anticipated weeks of the project, week 6 marked the first week the girls began the hands-on work of disassembling the motorcycle! The energy was high as all the girls walked into the Hot Rod Institute, the facility where they would be working on the bike. This was also the week the girls found out which design had the most votes. The winning design was called "Phoenix" and the artist was Raeshawn, a 5th grade Girls Inc. member.

Assisting the girls for this part of the project was Rob Burton from Black Hills Harley Davidson."I was excited to meet Rob. We knew that he was going to be helping us and teaching us more about motorcycles," stated Amya (4th grade Girls Inc. member).

After examining the bike up close, Rob and the girls decided that the best idea was to remove the battery and the seat. Several girls were ready to take action right away! Rob helped the girls identify which tools they would need for these steps and the girls were more than happy to sift through the tool box to find what they needed. They were very excited when they found what they were looking for!

After covering the bike up to help protect the sheet metal from dings and scratches, the girls took turns removing screws and bolts. As some of the girls began taking parts off the bike, another group would collect the pieces that had been removed. "We had to take off a LOT of little pieces, " said Alana (5th grade Girls Inc. member). "Some of them were on tight, but I liked having to use my muscles." 

The girls would then bag and label them for safe keeping. By the end of their class session, the girls had successfully removed the seats and the battery, categorized the parts they removed, and prepped the bike for the next class session. Not a bad start for their first week with the motorcycle!

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Week 5: On Your Marks, Get Set, VOTE!

After a couple weeks of brainstorming, a lot of coloring sheets, and multiple drafts from each of the girls, it was finally time to have the girls vote on the bike the design they would use as the inspiration for the finished product.

In order to have a fair vote, all the pictures were numbered and hung on the wall for the girls to see. They were able to get up, walk around, and examine all the ideas they had to choose from. Each of the coloring sheets also included a story. The stories were written by the girls to express both the idea of their individual bike designs as well as each of their interpretations of the project itself; they explained how their bike design reflected what the project meant to them. "I liked being able to see all our designs," said Jasmine. "It was exciting to think about what we were going to be doing."

After taking the time to carefully look at all their options, the girls were given a piece of paper to vote on both the design they'd like to pursue as well as the story that they felt best explained their project.  The winner would be announced at the next week's class.

After the girls turned in their voting slips, it was on to the topic of tools!Since the girls were actually going to be wrenching on the bike, they needed to have a basic understanding of what tools they would be using. Amy Klock an adviser to the project, pulled out tools and went over their names and purposes with the girls. They were also instructed on the proper way to handle the tools for safety reasons.

Thursday, February 7, 2013

Week 3: Diving Into Design

Three weeks in and it's time to get down to business. Mike Maloney from Black Hills Harley Davidson led this week's class, teaching the girls about motorcycle design basics. Since the girls are going to be providing the inspiration for the motorcycle design, it only made sense that they get a little direction from a professional.

Mike visited with the girls about parts on the bike they'll be able to swap out and customize, color schemes, body styles, and how everything works together to create a full design. Once again, the girls had a lot of questions. "Can it have lights?" "Can it be more than one color?" "Can it have a cup holder?" "How do you know if you should get tall or short handle bars? You don't want your arms to be like this..."

Almost immediately the girls started coming up with some pretty creative ideas. Hoping to capture some of their initial excitement and thoughts, the girls were given coloring sheets to draw out their ideas on.

The girls were able to look through parts books as they colored so they could see some of the options that would be available to them for their own designs. The girls put in a lot of effort on their coloring sheets; accounting for even the smallest of details. "It was cool to color all the different parts," said Vena (4th grade Girls Inc. member). "I wanted my design to look fancy." Some of the girls added notes that clearly described their idea if they didn't feel their coloring job described their concept clearly enough.