Before I get into how exciting the day was, it's important to reflect on what went into the day itself. The following is merely a reflection of what was done ahead of time and what we plan to change for next year.
- We picked a day that was warm... too warm. May 1st in Southern California means that you're pushing towards 90 degrees, and today didn't buck the trend. Last year, I did Barbie Zipline in November, and that was a much better option, even though my students still whined about the low 80's. #SoCalProblems indeed.
- I invested in more (and higher quality) carabiners and pulleys. The carabiners were basic, but the pulleys were well-worth the investment. Joe Keays went out and bought 18 of them, but I didn't have the funds to give each group their own setup. For next year, I'm fine with the setup of 4, but there will be other improvements.
- One of the last things I wanted was a fishing line that would break. Therefore, I used my saltwater Izorline 25 and 30# test. For about $10, you get all you could ever ask for. Since we had two classes out to run the trials, we used both lines. Next year, I would only use one line and have the second person on the roof as a deckhand to prepare the next launch. We wasted too much time on transitions.
- Blue painter's tape has become a staple around our schools due to its ability to avoid leaving behind residue and how effective it is. Before the day began, I went out and taped off markers every 5 feet to make it easier for the students to identify where they needed to stand. With a Sharpie, I wrote on the tape and it was effective enough to not switch up for next year.
- Buckets and rope were used to hoist up the used carabiners and pulleys, along with the dolls at the beginning of the period and any other materials. This was Paula's idea and a darn good one. Rather than having kids throw stuff up to us on the roof, we could just drop the bucket, fill it, and hoist it up. I'll definitely be using that again next year.
- Work gloves made our life easier atop the staging site and saved our hands from getting cut into. As the day wore on, it was really nice to not have jacked up hands (those come in handy, ya know). If anything, I won't use my old leather gloves from the electric company, but some smaller ones that are easier to work with.
- Water... I'm not a PE teachers and have a lot of respect for those who are. My day is spent inside as a classroom teacher, so I'm not used to being outside ALL. DAY. LONG. A 2-gallon jug was perfect for being in the sun for 6 hours, even with how hot it was. In the future, I'll bring my own sunscreen (and not be so stubborn about working on my Greek tan).
- Plenty of video and photo options are vital to documenting the day. After all, it's pretty rare to see a math class outside and doing something interesting. We identified photographers and videographers for the day, but we didn't explain what that role really meant (cue the "kids know tech but don't know how to use it" crowd). This translated into students not talking to each other and sharing information - something that will get fixed for next year. We came up with the idea of creating a video that is a tutorial with expectations of what each role will do - and look like - once we get outside.
- One really cool piece was that we had a student get his dad and brother to bring in a quadcopter to record different angles. WHOA! We also had a GoPro and a couple other students who taped their phones to their zipline run, so that was fun.
- We had students go outside and give us the dolls, but there wasn't enough structure. One idea we kicked around, and liked, is giving each group a number and having them adhering a taped number to their doll ahead of time. This would let us know whose doll is whose and the order for groups, keeping kids more on-task. The way we did it was too scattered, having kids put their dolls into the bucket and us randomly choosing the order. I understand why some kids got bored - they didn't know when they were going to get called on.
- Photographers and videographers were encouraged to tweet out their media with the #BarbieZipline tag. I'm not about to force kids to tweet school-related material, but I'm going to encourage it again next year.
- Maybe it was because of the weather, but the iPads we were using to collect data overheated. We wound up getting 90 data points to analyze, so I'd call that a pretty strong sample set. Next year, I'll work on making the form easier to use, but I loved the results that we saw. CHECK OUT THE RESULTS!
"You fool, you knew from the start that your doll was gonna die"
"I went online and researched the best angle of depression and used a 6% drop in elevation to determine my parameters" (This really happened)
"Umm, can I get out of my next class? I want to try a different set of values." (No)
(from a passerby) "Wait, why are all of you out here?"
"Math class. We're launching Barbies"
"Hey, can you get my teacher to do this?!" (I'd love to)
Enough of me reflecting. Here's a better recap via tweets:
If you are interested in going Barbie Ziplining with your students, all of the information is here, but please feel free to reach out. I'll do whatever I can do help you make it a success for your students. There's also last year's work that I put together and learned from.
*** VIDEO OF TODAY WILL BE AVAILABLE ONCE I REGAIN ENERGY ***