School kids enter own contraption for Kensington Kinetic Sculpture Derby

    You have to see these contraptions to believe them

    For months people all over Philadelphia have been playing with bicycle gears and welding torches in their garages, getting ready for the Kinetic Sculpture Derby this weekend. It’s a parade of vehicles powered by humans, and designed by flights of whimsy. What began as a creative hobby for engineers, now attracts schoolchildren.

    Wynn Geary is working on a Roman chariot made from some PVC tubing and gold paper mache. The 13-year old has a problem attaching plastic flag poles to the chariots tubing.

    “We’re going to attach them together side-by side with wire, I’m trying to stab wire through the paper mache. Mia, can you get me some hot glue?”

    Geary’s class at the Project Learn School in Germantown is the youngest team ever to enter the Kensington Kinetic Sculpture Derby. His teacher, Jason Huber, designed a year-long curriculum about bicycles, culminating in the Kinetic Sculpture Derby. He says bicycles are a vehicle to teach junior high students about history and government–such as when City Councilmen Frank DiCicco and Jim Kenny wanted to treat bikes like cars.

    “DeCicco and Kenney started to try to pass pass legislation with licensing and registration, and they were like, who are Councilpeople? What do they do? We discussed those issues.”

    This is the 4th Sculpture Deby in Kensington, although the idea began over 40 years ago in California.

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