Your experience on a zip line course actually all comes down to science. For example, if you want to go faster, tuck your knees and arms in to make your body as small as possible and reduce friction. If you want to slow down, spread your body out like a star to increase the force of the air slowing you down.
Ask your students to guess who will go faster, people who weigh more or less, and then test your hypothesis and figure out why (think potential energy). Finally, practice steering by using the torque from your wrist and your momentum. Don’t hesitate to ask your guide to explain how the course works.
Students participate in zip lining either for fun, as part of a challenge course, or both.
BEFORE YOU GO
- Call ahead to ask about age, height or fitness requirements, as well as necessary or recommended equipment.
- Download a map of the course and description of the activity(s) from the website. Check if the website offers printable lessons or worksheets.
- Discuss with students the importance of teambuilding as well as safety.
WHAT TO WONDER
Ask: How does the zip line function? How does it propel riders? How does the equipment differ between younger and older users? Have your students talk and think about what goes into designing a zip line course – about how many trees do you think were cleared to make way for the lines?
Observe how your teammates react and interact. Remember to stay positive – everyone is different and brings a unique advantage to the team.
Describe how each team member contributes to the activity. Describe the rules and procedures of the sport.
Opinion: What type of player are you – competitive, all about fun, spirit of the team?
Compare their experiences of using the zip line. What was hardest and why? What part was the most fun?
Discuss the importance of teamwork or “playing the game.” In what other situations might you need these skills? Is it important to play by the rules? Why or why not?
Research the history of the sport. Research tips on how to play and improve. Find videos or photos of the activity.
Project: Design and play a mini version of the sport at your school, and challenge students to use basic math or physics to help.