High Hopes on High Ropes

Running around a track has its place, but what if your P.E. class got a facelift? High 5 Adventure Learning Center has challenged the way traditional physical education classes operate by introducing team building challenge courses that are appropriate for students k – 12. The courses can range from “low ropes” elements that engage a whole group of kids to “high ropes” elements that lift students high up into the air with a harness.  The elements that students face together are designed to bring them closer to each other as well as learn about themselves individually.

So often students are in competition to receive high grades in order to gain admission into selective universities. Rather than defaulting onto typical sports that often still allow for individuals to take the spotlight, the different elements require individuals to come together. These courses help to develop and stretch students by pushing them to rely on one another and working as a united team. An added benefit to these elements is that there often is not a single correct way to accomplish a task. Because of this, teams have to engage their creative problem solving skills. In a setting that so often has a single correct answer, this setting puts the student in the educational drivers seat.

Perhaps high adventure courses have previously been limited to those that are gutsy enough to spend a week at a summer camp, but High 5 has challenged this notion. On their website, High 5 boasts several testimonials including the NHL’s Boston Bruins team, AmeriCorps, and the Alaska National Guard. Most privy though, are the Bridgeport Public Schools. High school P.E. classes have been radically changed in Bridgeport Ct. Over 12,500 students of all ages have gone through the challenge course to date, and the schools have noticed as significant change in their students.

Ways to Use this Resource

The elements available for purchase are individually, though they suggest that groups of schools invest in a challenge course. Course building is a 2 or 3-year process and can be an expensive investment. Though there are certain benefits from investing in a specific challenge course, there are also ways to develop a teambuilding program without breaking the bank. The site offers a vast amount of reading materials and game/program bags that help teachers to hone their teambuilding skills. These books and bags are a bit more feasible for teachers that have a budget to keep in mind.

high5adventure.org

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