Wednesday, 10 August 2016

A Seesaw, A Wheelbarrow and An Arm

Another one of the biomechanical principles our seniors are learning about is Levers. Levers are found everywhere, including parts of the body - hence our learning in PE. Students will be able to make reference to levers when analysing and critiquing a movement for their assessment.

A lever is made up of a fulcrum (otherwise known as an axis), an effort (or force), and a resistance (the load being lifted). There are three different classes (or types) of levers, which is dependant on where the resistance is in relation to the fulcrum and the effort being applied. An easy way to remember the classes is to visualise a seesaw, a wheelbarrow and an arm (1st, 2nd and 3rd class levers respectively).

To teach this, we started with a basic intro to what levers are, and then played badminton forceback. Students were in pairs and attempted to hit the wall behind their opponent to score a point. Initially the students could only hold the badminton racquet on the shaft - right below the head of the racquet. Students quickly became frustrated as they weren't able to hit the shuttle very far, as they didn't have as much force as they possibly could. Then moving their hand to the end of the racquet handle to play, this illustrated how a longer lever produces a greater force. We were also able to make reference to other biomechanical principles throughout ie widening the BOS to increase balance/stability, and turning the body to create the largest force possible (force summation).

We then went into the classroom to delve a little further into the 3 classes. We begun by watching the video above and breaking levers down simplistically, making reference to badminton forceback. We then watched a Ted lesson which provides some more of the science, theory and philosophy behind levers, to encourage students to think more broadly about levers around them, rather than just their bodies.

Finally, students created their own simple levers old school style - pen, paper, scissors, glue and pins. They started by creating 3 levers, 3 loads and 3 fulcrums, which they then constructed into the three different classes of levers. The pin was used so the students could actually move the lever by applying an effort (their finger), and then asked to explain the three components of the lever and three classes. Students were asked to visualise a seesaw, a wheelbarrow and an arm while creating their levers.

Although a little tedious with the cutting out and sticking bits together, students were able to explain their creations to me at the end of the period - demonstrating their understanding and application of what they had learnt. I think they enjoyed having the practical, discussions and then creation as something different to Google Docs, and I was impressed with their understanding. Will definitely be using this lesson in the future!

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