Snowsnake - Lesson #1

Materials:

Click here to read Snowsnake story.

Focus:

Searching for the ideal tree for the Snowsnake.

Safety Issues:

Students should be careful using the bucksaw and axes. As a teacher I usually talk to the students prior to trip about using these tools.

Lesson Plan

The snowsnake should be approximately 1.3 meters (4’6’’) and have a diameter of 2 centimeters ( inches). I often use a straight birch or spruce tree. And if finding a tree is difficult or you are lacking the time a broom handle will work. For further information refer to the rules.

Students will work together in groups of 3 or 4 depending on the size of the class and how many snowsnakes you want made. Usually the day of finding a suitable tree I will have the students return to the school with the tree, remove all bark from the tree and sand it down. From there the tree will be left for a couple of days to dry. It would be a good idea to do this on a Friday, this way the tree will dry out over the weekend.

Teacher Notes:

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.

Snowsnake - Lesson #2

Materials:

Focus:

To create the Snowsnake

Safety Issues:

Students need to be careful using the varnish as fumes are strong and when sanding or cutting the sharpened end students need to be careful with the tools.

Lesson Plan

Having allowed the snowsnake to dry, students can now cut the tree to length, plane it if necessary, sand it, sharpen it at one end and varnish the snowsnake. Once the snowsnake has been prepared it needs to sit and dry over night. The varnish is used to allow the snowsnake to slide over the snow.

Teacher Notes:

Keep in mind if you do not have the time, go to your local Hardware store, purchase some broom handles and simply create a spear like end and you have a snowsnake.

Snowsnake - Lesson #3

Materials:

Click here to see Snowsnake Rules.

Focus:

To prepare the Snowsnake course

Safety Issues:

During the preparation of the course I often have students responsible for certain jobs and I do all driving on the snowmobile, unless there are students that are responsible and understand the work that needs to be completed.

Lesson Plan

The students and I usually do this activity together after we have prepared our Snowsnake so it can get some extra hours of drying. Often one class leads into the next, so students are picking up the work from one class to another because this activity will often take the entire day to prepare. Though the course development takes an entire day, students really take pride in their work and appreciate the end product the next class.

It is important that students understand what the course should look like and how big it is so they can get the visual picture of the course. The pallets are tied to the snowmobile and pulled over the course, after the course has been built, thus there are no footprints on the throwing surface. The course then needs a night for the snow to pack and harden. The next day it is ready to be thrown on.

Teacher Notes:

It is important to mark the course off first, using sticks, so the throwing area is straight and students understand where to make the troughs.

Snowsnake - Lesson #4

Materials:

Click here to see Snowsnake Rules.

Focus:

To participate in the Snowsnake competition.

Safety Issues

During the actual throwing of the Snowsnake, students should not line up along the troughs of the course, as sometimes the Snowsnake can come over and hit spectators. As well give the thrower at least 7 meters of a running area from the release line.

Lesson Plan

Often before we leave to go out on the course I will have students numbered off and this will be the order we use for throwing. Each student will get 2 or 3 practice throws and 2 throws that will count as their scores. On the course I spray bright red or orange paint to show the starting line (this is where the snowsnake must be released) in the snow. From there I find it easier to mark the course off from the release line in the following increments: 25 feet, 50 feet, 75 feet, 100 feet, 125 feet, 150 feet, 175 feet, 200 feet, 250 feet and 300 feet. Once again I use spray paint to mark lines across the course to define these incremented distances. This way it is easier to measure the throws from the increment values rather than the release line.

In order to keep track of the student’s scores have the class list on a clipboard.

Teacher Notes:

If the weather is cold remind students to dress appropriately and come prepared. I have often had a contained fire going near the snowsnake track, so students can stay warm during the competition.