Here are my answers to the Make-To-Learn Youth Contest:
What Did I Make?
I made a slackline. Similar to a tightrope, a slackline is a thin, long line of webbing that is tightened with tension, and then walked on. Once the slackline is tightened appropriately, it can be used for walking, balance training, and tricks. The materials used are various lengths of webbing. The exact measurements are two twenty four foot pieces tied into loops and used as anchors, and one 25-50 foot piece used as the line itself. Three carabiners and two line locks are used to attach the line to the anchor, as well as to tension it. You also need two sturdy trees or metal poles deeply rooted in the ground. You can also use a tow line and a ratchet as a 2 inch version of the typical one inch slackline.
How Did I Make It?
I made this with my best friend Jake. After a long summer of sitting inside and playing video games, we decided we wanted a challenge, and an active one at that. We got the idea from my brother Nick, an avid slackliner who is sponsored by various climbing companies and taught us the rigging. We purchased all of the necessary gear from our local REI and got to work. As we worked on one setup, we were constantly thinking, "how can we make this better, easier, stronger, more fun?" We started out with a beginner two inch line, and swiftly progressed into the much more challenging one inch. We still haven't mastered it yet, but we are getting there. We are always trying to find a way to make the setup easier, and a way to make our lines even tighter.
Where Did I Make It?
We made this at both my home, and our local park. The project connected in our lives because it lead us to start living healthier lifestyles, instead of just sitting around playing video games. We both noticed an increase in our athletic performances at school after about a month of slacklining, proving that this is really a great exercise for the body and mind.
What Did You Learn?
We learned a lot about dedication and hard work to achieve goals. Both of us constantly pushed each other to work at it and get even better, and we still do this to this day. We also learned about living a healthy lifestyle. We learned about keeping our balance, not just on our feet but in our minds, as slacklining takes quite a lot of mental concentration, focus, and dedication. Also we learned about more fundamental skills, such as the types of rope we should use and how much force it takes to keep the line stiff. Lastly we learned about the gear. Our choices were quality versus price (seeing as 2 thirteen year olds don't have much to spend) and break strength of our carabiners/ line locks. If we were to do this again (which I think we will) we would probably upgrade to different gear and try some different line setups. I am most proud of my friend, who has put even more time into this than I have, because of his devotion and exponential growth in passion for what he is doing. He is truly an inspiration to me. In all, we learned how having a good time, going out, and being active can have a huge impact on our daily lives.