Western Academy Students Build Bikes

Teams of middle school students at Western Academy Charter School got to ride and race Infento bikes they designed and built themselves as part of a brand-new “maker” education program developed by Green Mouse Academy.

Infento, both the name of the company and the maker kits, has produced a concept similar to Lego, but life-size. The name Infento comes from two Latin words meaning “infinite” and “to make.” This combination is exactly what Infento is all about — to infinitely make and invent.

Partnering with Infento, Green Mouse Academy has developed and launched a new science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) enrichment education experience that they are piloting with schools and afterschool groups throughout Palm Beach County. Over an eight-week period, students form teams and work together to come up with a bike design they then build using modular parts from the Infento kit. Students then get to test the ride they’ve created on a track of their own design.

“We are tremendously excited to be piloting this program with Western Academy Charter School,” said Shane Vander Kooi, president and founder of Green Mouse Academy. In order to develop a talented and educated 21st century workforce, we need to do more to inspire and engage kids early by giving them more opportunities to explore, invent and create in both formal and informal education settings.”

Western Academy Principal Linda Terranova is excited about the project.

“Being the first students in the United States to pilot this bike design program is a great opportunity for our aftercare students,” Terranova said.

Vander Kooi is impressed by the results thus far.

“We had a great group of students here to work with. I observed them being engaged, learning and having fun right alongside our own team of instructors and developers,” he said. “Participants in early pilots like this are among the very first students outside of Europe to be working with the Infento kits. We will be refining our program based on what we learn from these students. Our goal for the new year is to release a complete enrichment curriculum package that can be then piloted in schools and afterschool settings throughout the country.”