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How to create learning from this (for all you unschoolers or other creative thinkers!)

Posted by on May. 18, 2014 at 3:59 PM
  • 6 Replies

We live about 45 minutes away from a big amusement park, Holiday World. It's actually pretty awesome even though it's in rural southern Indiana. :) Here is the link if anyone is interested -

Anyhoo, it's got rides, games (we dont usually do many games, too $$$), and a huuuuge water park with multiple types of slides, a racing slide, a couple of wave pools, a couple of lazy rivers, a couple of cliimbing structures, etc.

For the first time, we bought 'fun passes' for me and our 3 kids. Usually we can get discounted one-day tix for about $30 but we got the summer fun pass (good every day except Saturdays) for about $100 per person. My goal is to go 10x so it's only like $10 each trip, but even if we go more than 3x it's worth the cost. We went last week for the first time! 

I would like to incorporate some learning into this. I am just not sure how to do this. Any ideas? Either things that we can learn about at home, or do ahead of time or afterwards... I am kind of clueless. I was thinking one idea would be to have one of my kids wear a pedometer for the day and take estimates of how many miles we think we walk then compare it to actuality, and graph it. But that is literally the ONLY idea I've come up with so far!

by on May. 18, 2014 at 3:59 PM
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by Group Admin on May. 18, 2014 at 4:08 PM
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You can take an ordinary protractor and tape a straw and plumb-bob to it and estimate the heights of some of the attractions.  

by on May. 18, 2014 at 4:13 PM
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You could also doing some great engineering studies, how some of the rides work and were constructed.

 The pedomiter is a great idea, maybe make it a complete health lesson and have them track their food and drink to see how much energy they need to keep going for the day. 

Also have them come up with as many questions as they can about the park and see how many they can get answers to on thier next visit.

by Group Admin on May. 18, 2014 at 4:14 PM

You can look up the train track gauges.

Look up any antique rides and their history.  (We have an antique merry-go-round that was on Long Island before being moved to Ligonier a hundred years ago)

by Group Admin on May. 18, 2014 at 4:15 PM

Figure out if the map they give is to scale.

by on May. 18, 2014 at 6:37 PM

Popular Mechanics for Kids has a whole episode on roller coasters and such.

PLUS, you can take the whole economics route and ask why people would pay that kind of money for that place.  Why would they charge that amount?  How many people do they think are there on a daily basis?  What's the least attended day?  Most attended day? it as great as they say?  Do they exaggerate at all?  What would make it better?

Story telling....write about their day.

by on May. 18, 2014 at 7:00 PM
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How old are your kids?

I've used an amusement park science website with my kids at school before.  I'll try to find it.  It had activities from basic force and motion that I used with my 1st graders all the way up to designing a roller coaster that the 5th graders used.

Depending on the age of your kids, off the top of my head:

Literacy could include researching the safety of various amusement park rides and creating a report or power point presentation, researching the history of the park, studying the ecological and or economic impact of the park on the community, reading maps/charts/menus, 

Math could include a study of the geometry/angles of the various attractions, calculating the cost and profit margins on various concessions, calculating the wages of the workers and incorporating a study of the various withholdings from a paycheck and what that money goes to, calculating the efficiency of the lines/wait times for various rides and looking at ways to make them more efficient, doing various problems on the cost for a family to visit the park (gas, parking, admission, concessions, locker/stroller rental, souvenirs, pay to play games, etc.), speed of the roller coasters, 

Science could include the physics of the rides, the impact of rides on the body, a study of the history of machines, a study on building structures (bridges, buildings, rides, pyramids, etc.)

History/social studies could include economic or ecological problems (even looking at how much garbage they produce and whether they make an effort to encourage customers to recycle), a study of the history of roller coasters, a look at the labor laws regarding theme park workers, a look at safety laws, a "people watching" activity look at people's habits on a particular topic (this could be done using the scientific method)

if you arrange it in advance you might even be able to interview the park manager or get a behind the scenes tour (on an off-peak day).

good luck

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