I am visiting my parents and family so I get to see things I don't usually see because of where I live. This past Saturday, I walked from the farmers market to the library and then over to the shopping center.
As I walked from the library, behind the police station, I really paid attention to the skateboard park that had been built in the spare land right behind the library.
I realized there are arcs and angles all through the park. The arcs provide the curved ramps you see skateboarders whiz up so they can execute a turn in the air before heading down.
As I researched the topic, it appears they requirement for ramps depends on the type of trick being performed. A quarter pipe ramp has an arc that is 1/4 of a sphere while a half pipe is two quarter ramps connected by a flat area or uses 1/2 of a sphere. There are also spines which are quarter pipes put back to back. These are often put in the middle of half pipes. A vert ramp is a quarter pipe with a higher vertical back.
It was interesting reading how the curve is actually created. After consulting a variety of do it yourself sites, I finally figured out how they do it. Take a 4 by 8 sheet of plywood. Fix a 6 foot tall board to one side. At the top, place a non-stretch string that is also 6 feet tall with a marker at the end. Then pulling the string taunt, use the marker to draw the curve on the plywood and you have your curve. In theory, you have a curve with a radius of 3 feet.
I am not a skateboarder. There is no skateboarding park out where I am but it appears to me, the circle is removed to create the curve on the ramps. I wonder if my students can picture this. So what is the best way to help students use this information?
I believe the starting point is to have students research information on each type of ramp and how the curves are created. They might also want to determine whether a 3 or 4 foot radius is better for these ramps. Once they have this information, they can design their ideal skateboard park. This site has great information on what a designer keeps in mind as they create a skateboard park so the information in here could be used to provide parameters of their design.
Before they can turn their design in, they need to explain why they designed the park the way they did. Since I do not skateboard, it might be they want more quarter pipes or more half pipes but I'd want to know their logic involved in their design.
Let me know what you think! I can't even stand on a skateboard without falling off so I have no idea but I do have a few students who own a skateboard they can ride down a walkway. I think they might find this interesting.