Return from outer space

16th May 2003 at 01:00
Outdoor and adventure activities often get left out in schools because it is thought they require funds, but we find this very simple adventure activity which takes place in the gym challenges Year 7 and 8 pupils physically and intellectually and encourages teamwork.

I call it the Black Hole . A hoop (the Black Hole) is suspended from a piece of equipment and groups (six pupils or more) have to work as a team to get everyone through from the outer-space side back to the Earth side.

Nobody can touch the hoop. Crash and safety mats are placed underneath the hoops. The rules are: all members must go through for that team to complete the mission; you are not allowed to dive through; once through the hoop you can't step back; and teams must remain on the mat. If any rules are broken the person making the mistake and one other person have to go back to the start.

Teams begin by sitting down and working out how they are going to do it.

Additions and variations can include raising or lowering the hoops for younger or older children and asking pupils to carry something with them as a souvenir from outer space - a football, for example. You can also impose a time limit or make it competitive, either by timing different teams or suspending a number of hoops.

We use it for an after-school club for outdoor and adventure activities, but it could just as well be used as part of the curriculum.

Naomi Napier, PE teacher, Yardleys School, Birmingham

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