Sliding, Rolling, and Gliding

Downhill skiing is fast.  Ice skating’s got those nifty blades.  Bobsleds are faster and those runners are longer, and they make that awesome ‘whooshing’ sound.  What’s not to love?  (Okay, so I was maybe influenced a little a lot by Cool Runnings as a kid.  I’m not the only one.)

Bobsleigh Homepage at Olympic.org — full of fun stuff!  Current photos and videos from the ongoing games, equipment and history, techniques, etc.

Physics of Bobsledding at Howstuffworks

Team USA’s Bobsled page

Want to try building a bobsled course at home?

There was a tree at the base of the best side of the house for sledding when I was a kid.  A really big pine tree that you didn’t want to hit, if at all possible.  So my brother and I, assisted by our parents, got pretty decent at packing up snowbanks so that we would curve around the tree, around the corner of the house, and out into the backyard.  It worked enough of the time to be worth it.

However, there are safer, smaller ways to build a bobsled course that don’t involve pine needles down your jacket collar.  My favorite is the paper-towel-tube bobsled run.  The simplest of indoor Olympic sports, all you need are paper towel tubes (wrapping paper tubes, mailing tubes, toilet paper rolls, you get the picture), marbles or toy cars (I’m more of a marbles fan, myself.  Run 4 at a time for a four-man sled!), masking tape, and a whole lot of books, furniture, and boxes to form your ‘hill.’  Cut, tape, and go wild!

(To make ‘curved’ sections, I recommend cutting out triangular pieces from the paper towel rolls [which end up looking like diamonds once you’ve made the two angled cuts] and bending and taping them together.  This takes some practice to get a reasonable variety of angles that aren’t going to make your marbles stick in the turns!)

For other examples, check out some of these snazzy runs for ideas!

Patriotic Marble Run

Courtesy of Marie at MakeandTakes.com

Winter Olympics Games for Kids from MakeandTakes.com (for very young children)

A 3 floor marble run and you want more?

For the truly Olympic oriented educator, Kathi Mitchell’s impressive Olympics for Kids round-up page, with lesson plans, interactives, and assorted links galore.

2 thoughts on “Sliding, Rolling, and Gliding

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