If you are like me and you sometimes find it tricky explaining to your students the complex interactions between Low and High pressure systems or weather forecasting you need to pick up the amazing resource, The Weather Cycler.
The Weather Cycler is essentially an 8.5"x11" cardboard slide chart and guide for interpreting and forecasting weather. What makes it very cool is that when you slide the inner card out, it creates a simple animation of a low pressure system moving into your area. While the animation is happening, there are other cut outs on the page that demonstrate expected weather, pressure and cloud formations at any given point throughout the weather system. It’s a fantastic resource.
If you are looking to pick one up check with your local science shop to see if they have it though you will likely do better ordering it online. I recently picked up mine from the gang at Body Boat Blade and it was $12.50 plus shipping.
Does trying to learning about knots get you all tied up? (Sorry about that.)
Dave Wooldridge from Ridge Wilderness Adventures just released a short and sweet clip demonstrating the three key knots you will end up using 80% of the time. They are the Bowline, Truckers Hitch and the Half Hitch.
You can view the video below:
Since I teach kayaking, I find myself often talking to students about weather and science behind weather forecasting. I used to always be nervous talking about weather since it can be one confusing monster to understand (let alone explain) and even the best meteorologists can get it wrong (especially when predicting your upcoming weekend weather).
Over the past several years, one of my goals has been to figure out ways to explain the science without overloading students with extremely technical descriptions or complex lectures. With that in mind I’m always on the lookout for new resources.
The other day I stumbled upon this really good video published by PBS that explains where wind comes from. You should take a look.
Quick Teaching Tip: If you find yourself struggling to find resources or ways to communicate a particular theory topic (eg. navigation); focus on resources online that are aimed for teachers in elementary schools or kids themselves. The information is often presented in a more simplified style and the depth of knowledge is often just perfect for your students. For example, I found this amazing article that goes in a touch more depth about what causes wind and the influence temperature has on the weather machine.
Here's something that's pretty amazing: all of the tiny, invisible molecules that make up the air have weight. They don't weigh very much (you couldn't put one on your bathroom scale), but their weight adds up, because there are a LOT of molecules in the air that makes up our atmosphere.
All of that air is actually pretty heavy, so the air at the bottom of the atmosphere (like the air just above the ground) is getting pressed on by all of the air above it. That pressure pushes the air molecules at the bottom of the atmosphere a lot closer together than the air molecules at the top of the atmosphere.
And, because the air at the top of the atmosphere is pushing down on the air at the bottom of the atmosphere, the air molecules at the bottom REALLY want to spread out. So if there is an area where the air molecules are under high pressure (with a lot of weight pushing down), the air will spread out into areas that are under lower pressure (with less weight pushing down).
Don't forget that there is also a pile of free teaching resources available for your taking over in the resource area here at the Headquarters so start clicking!
Flickr Image Credit: Peter Mulligan
I recently stumbled upon this interesting teaching tool: a foldable, pocket whiteboard.
It peaked my interest because there were several times over the past year when I was out teaching and wished I had a writing surface to get a complex concept across to my students. Beach sand and a stick can only go so far when explaining the wonders of a developing cold front.
The whiteboard is made up of 27 mini pieces that folds up to roughly 3”x5”x0.2”. It folds out to 15”x27” giving you lots of whitespace to work with. The kit comes with a dry erase market and a microfiber bag which doubles as an eraser.
More info: thinkgeek.com
Buoys, posts or other markers on the water are great for teaching. You can use them for students to circle around doing figure eights, zig zag or another activity/game you can think of.
The problem is that buoys often are placed in locations that are not ideal for teaching paddling. For some reason God always seems to place them near boat channels, shallow rocks or just to close to shore making it impossible to turn around.
Because I’m always on the lookout for new teaching gadgets and aids, I was very excited to discover (courtesy of my friend, Bonnie Perry) the Lindy Marker Buoys.
You got to check them out. They are essentially lightweight plastic dumbbells with 60 feet of thin line wrapped around the waist. Attached to the end of the line is a small lead weight.
The great thing with the design is that when you throw it in the water and the buoy will spin as the weight unwinds. When the anchor hits bottom it will stop spinning due to a very cool counter weight built inside keeping the buoy in place even in a medium wind.
With a set of three you can pass them out to pairs of students or create a triangle or line for zigging or zagging. When the activity is over get the students to wind them up to store in your day hatch until you need them again.
I’m serious, they are fantastic tools.
Image credit: mantraplake.webs.com
The American Canoe Association recently unveiled a new resource for instructors called the Journal of Paddlesports Education or JPE for short. Aimed towards certified instructors, the JPE is filled with a wide variety of articles related to sea kayaking, whitewater, and canoeing instruction.
So far the collection is pretty decent. I really liked the article, Teaching and Learning Paddle Sports by Mike Aronoff which is filled with a hodge podge collection of thoughts and ideas around what makes an effective instructor.
Even thought some of the articles could be edited down for length (heaven knows I ramble!), the JPE is off to a great start in producing a list of technical, “how to” industry resources.
Also, I do appreciate that they have applied an Attribution Creative Commons license to everything on the site which means you can use the resources for anything you want as long as you give proper credit to the original author. You can even use the material for your commercial use which is very generous indeed!
Check out the Journal of Paddlesports Education.
The three new resources are:
- SUP Lesson Plan - Breaking Through the Waves
- Lesson Plan: SUP Tides and Currents
- Lesson Plan: Introduction to Forward Stroke
I’m also pleased to announce that you no longer need to register and login to download the teaching resources. Just go and grab what you want.
Finally, I’m always on the hunt for resources. If you have any lesson plans that you want to contribute, please get in touch with me. I’m very happy to do the legwork to convert them to pdf and make sure you get full credit.
If you want to see what other people have contributed grab a few from the lesson plans category.
To enable downloading, you will need to register via the Login Box to the left. If you have any questions, please feel free to contact us at any time.
Just as other instructors have made their resources available to you; you are welcome AND encouraged to upload your resources for others. It doesn’t need to be professionally developed. We (as well as other instructors) are constantly looking for new ideas or techniques for teaching. New lesson plans, games lists, navigation assignments, packing lists are all the types of things that other members of our community are looking for. It really can be anything at all as long as it is related to sea kayak instruction. Oh yeah, you need to own the copyrights to it or be able to prove to us (if requested) that you got permission to post it here.
Finally, when downloading, pay close attention and respect any restrictions that the original author might have placed on the item you are downloading. They have graciously made it available to you for FREE; please respect their hard work.
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