Sunday, March 1, 2009

Winter Physical Education Activities - Igloos and More

As I look out my window at three feet of snow on the ground, I realize that physical education teachers in cold climates have a unique challenge in getting students to participate in outdoor activities in the winter. Not all kids are interested in or have the monetary resources to participate in traditional winter sports like skiing or hockey. That's where Igloo Ed enters the picture.

This morning I watched a short video about Igloo Ed on The Adventure Channel. In the video embedded below Igloo Ed shows us and explains the benefits of an Igloo shelter compared to a tent. While watching Igloo Ed, I thought "that would be a fun way to get kids outside in the winter." After watching the video I set out to find directions for building an Igloo and other fun outdoor winter activities. Here is what I found:

1. NOVA, as a part of their program on Denali, has directions for building a snow cave and directions for building an Igloo.

2. Boys' Life offers a list of outdoor winter games as well as directions for building igloos and snow shelters.

3. In this video BBC Survival Expert Ray Mears teaches viewers how to make an igloo and what igloos were traditionally used for.

4. How Stuff Works provides information about building igloos and a good article about the Inuit people.

Here's Igloo Ed.

Applications for Education
Building an igloo could be not only a fun way to get kids outside in the winter, but also an opportunity to teach lessons about Inuit culture. You could also combine igloo building with a lesson about physics and engineering.

A word of caution about igloo and snow shelter building. Because of the danger associated with a collapsed snow shelter, make sure students are carefully supervised and don't allow them to play in the shelter without supervision. Once the temperature starts to warm, it is probably best to demolish the shelter to avoid the risks of a weakened shelter.

Making the Case for Change

One of the many education blogs in my RSS reader is Jose Picardo's Box of Tricks. Today, I found an excellent video that Jose recently created titled I Teach, Therefore You Learn... or Do You? The video makes a good case for embracing changes in teaching methods through the use of technology. One of the points Jose make that I can see myself using when talking to those reluctant to change is; we don't ask students to read hand-written documents, yet we still ask them to produce much of their work that way. I encourage you to watch the video and check out Jose Ricardo's Box of Tricks for more ideas about using technology in the classroom.

The video is embedded below.

I teach, therefore you learn... or do you? from José Picardo on Vimeo.

Part-Time Work For Students?

Yesterday, Mashable posted one of their great web resource lists. Yesterday's list was 40+ Places to Sell Your Designs Online. Lately, I've been talking with some of my high school students about part-time work and how hard it is for them to find part-time jobs right now. In some cases much of their concern stems from a desire to save money for college expenses. Mashable's list presents a list of potential money making opportunities for artistically inclined students and or students that possess html and css skills. This aren't "get rich" opportunities, but they certainly could be a "make money" opportunity for some high school students and college students. One word of caution before sharing the list with high school students; the terms or service for most of these services require the contributor to be at least 18. High school students and their parents do need to read the fine print carefully before using one of the services.