NOT SO FAST!
"Holy crap, that looks like fun!"
"Stevens, what are we doing?!"
Consider the hook set - point for Stevens
After showing the video, I posed the question:
What would it take to create a successful zipline?
Cue the mayhem. I had kids shouting. And they weren't shouting nonsense. They were using these weird words like slope, distance, trajectory, height... man, if there's ever a time to let kids get loud, this was it. Once they calmed down, I pointed out a couple key components. First, they were actually using academic vocabulary that I didn't need to pull teeth to hear. Second, they were using that vocabulary to successfully describe a high quality zipline experience.
Safe Yet Fun
"It needs to have a steep slope"
OK, so I drew the path of a bungee jumper (sans the bungee)
"Nah, you'd have dead customers!"
Yep, you'd actually only have 1 because you'd be out of business
"It needs to have a horizontal slope"
OK, so I drew a horizontal line and demonstrated the lameness of a zipline with a slope of 0
"NOOOOO, that would be boring!"
"We need a slope that would be safe, but fun at the same time"
Couldn't have said it better myself
Without giving them more than a video and a scenario, my students crafted the framework for what we were going to do. I told them that I value each and every one of their lives, so I didn't want them to go down a zipline that I have created. Instead, we would use a doll named Tammy. Adding a name personalizes things. I want the students to take care of Tammy, even though they are plotting her demise already.
To make things a wee bit personal, I've asked each group to bring in a doll (or action figure for those too manly to have a doll, or anything with comparable mass and size as a Barbie) that they are willing to send down the zipline. I've even offered my son's bulldozer, but I have to ask him first.
Prior to testing out the distances, students need to have the work done for at least three different scenarios. On Tuesday, we will launch the zipline. For the first time in a long time, I had kids who didn't want to leave my classroom. In fact, they're asking if they can come in and test their distance before school on Tuesday. I even overheard a group talk about how they're going to try some trials at their house. I just hope they're safe.
Snags and Such
To combat boredom, each trial will be timed and students will document at least 10 times that accompany the distance for a trial run. I have no idea what we're doing with the data yet, but it should be fun.
When we tested it out during my prep, we had twine. The problem was that twine bunches up, creating knots. The workaround has been using fishing line instead. Hopefully that works. Now to dig into the fishing bag for 30 pound-test.
This could be a complete waste of a day, but oh well. Kids will walk around, get a little fresh air, and watch some sweet zipline action. What could possibly go wrong?!
This wouldn't have happened if it wasn't for the mulletified friend of mine, Vaudrey. It's nice to meet someone who is as crazy as you. Weird to meet them on twitter, then in person. Even more awesome to move close enough to collaborate in person. He has helped me a ton with getting this set up, so thank you.
Oh, and a big thank you to my administration for not only approving this, but helping me do the test runs. It feels so good to have an administration that supports your level of crazy.
P.S. Not one single student asked to go to the bathroom. Crazy.