Pole Push - Lesson #1
- Tree de-barker
- Planer or Palm sander
- Measuring tape
Click here to read Pole Push story.
Students will locate a suitable tree that will be used for the Pole Push.
In order to properly cut and prepare the pole push the tools that are to be used must be used with care and responsibility. Teacher supervision is very important.
Explain to the class about the ideal tree. The tree for the pole push ideally should be 7-8 meters (20 feet) long and have a 12 to 15 centimeter (4 to 5 inch) diameter the length of the tree. I usually take the class out and cut three trees, approximately 10 meters (25 feet) long each. Remove all branches from the trees so it will be easier to de-bark.
Prior to leaving or during the outdoor excursion I usually tell the students what the pole push was used for.
The time for this class can vary; however, it does usually take an entire period (1 hour). When the trees are returned to the school (or left outside, depending on weather conditions) I usually set them up on the stage so they will dry overnight. Click here to see picture.
I have set up two methods of obtaining the materials for the Snowsnake, Stick Pull and Pole Push. The first, refer to the Outdoor Pursuits; here you take part in an outdoor field trip to gather the proper trees. The second method, you can incorporate the gathering of trees into each individual lesson plan. I have used both ideas with my students and depending on time and resources, both can work.
Pole Push - Lesson #2
- Saw Horses or some other apparatus to lay the trees on
- planer or palm sander Garbage bags or boxes for the bark
Creating the pole push
The use of a de-barker, planer and/or palm sander requires teacher supervision.
Using the de-barker remove the bark from the tree and use the garbage boxes to put the bark in. Remove all bark and knobs created from the tree limbs. Then using the planer, plane the tree so that a diameter of 12 to 15 centimeters (4-5 inches) is consistent throughout the length of the tree. I often use a piece of rope measuring 12 to 15 centimeters (4-5 inches) which I wrap around the pole to keep the diameter consistent.
Since the planer can be a safety issue, I prefer not to let the students use it.
Pole Push - Lesson #3
- Measuring tape
- Bright rope or red paint
- 2” wide masking tape
- Hand saw
- Palm Sander
Completion of the Pole Push
Working with a chisel can be dangerous, teacher supervision is very important.
At this point the pole push should be relatively dry and taking shape. Measure the pole to desired lengths of 7-8 meters (20 feet) for Senior High boys and girls and Junior High boys and girls. If you want to use the Pole Push with Grades 4-5-6 measure a length of 5-6 meters (18 feet) and with Grades 1-2-3 measure a length of 4-5 meters (14 feet). Before making any cuts of the Pole Push, mark the center of the pole.
Once all cutting has been made, use the palm sander or planer to smooth the edges at each end of the pole push, thus eliminating injuries from the sharp edges. At the center of each pole push, where you mark the half-way mark, chisel a line about 1/4" deep around the pole push and paint the inside of this groove with a bright colour and/or take the rope and wrap it around the groove and allow about 15 centimeter to hang from the pole push.
Allow at least 5-6 days after removing the bark for the pole to dry. Lay the pole on the floor to prevent a warping affect.
Pole Push - Lesson #4
- Pole Push
- Dene Games Manual
- Dene Games Video
- Dene Games CD-ROM
To practice and learn how to participate in the Dene Game the Pole Push.
During this Dene Game is very important for students not to swing or lift the pole push during the event as this can lead to injury. As well when a winner has been determined, the pole push should not be dropped as students may be near the pole push.
Prior to the event students will watch the Pole Push video to see how the event takes place. The Pole Push is an event requiring strength, endurance, team cooperation, respect and concentration. To see the rules of the Pole Push please click here. Often practice should take place in the gym so students can understand how to hold the Pole Push and the concept of the Pole Push skill. Once students have become competent the Pole Push can be played outside either in snow (the ideal playing surface) or on a surface similar to beach sand.
If practicing in the gymnasium, work on grip techniques and procedures. Try not to use the pole push in a competitive setting in the gym. The floor is not the ideal condition and injuries can occur.
Pole Push - Lesson #5
- Rope 15 feet long
- Bright red paint
Students will take part outside on a playing surface of either sand or snow, in the Dene Game Pole Push.
Proper handling of the Pole Push.
Prior to leaving the gym pick the teams of 4 or 5 students depending on the age of the participants. At the High School and Junior High School age teams of 4 and at the Elementary School age teams can vary from 5 to 6 per team. The playing area should be somewhat level and free of any obstacles that can result in injury such as bottles, trees or big rocks. A circle having a diameter of 10 meters (30 feet) needs to be drawn into the snow using the spray paint. Have one student stand with the 5 meters (15 feet) rope and another stand at the other end, as one student walks with the rope; the other student remains rotating in a fixed position, the teacher can then follow the student spraying the paint behind the student’s hand. Once the circle has been created the Pole Push competition can commence. I usually, depending on time, class size and temperature, have a double round robin.
Have extra spray paint and make sure students are dressed properly for the cold weather.