June 24, 2016

Behold the glory...of the Imaginary Obstacle Course!


Mike Hutchinson is a middle school teacher in Massachusetts. He saw an activity called "Imaginary Obstacle Course" in Bart's King-Sized Book of Fun, and encouraged the kids in his book club to try it.

And they did!

In this video, a contestant periodically stops and gets instructions for the next leg of the course. Ah, and here's the passage from the book itself:



IMAGINARY OBSTACLE COURSE

Man, there are so many good obstacle course ideas my
head is spinning. But the one thing ALL courses have in common is that contestants are timed to see who gets through fastest, right?
 
Wrong! 
In an Imaginary Obstacle Course, competitors probably won’t make it through at all. That’s because they will have to overcome obstacles like the Whirling Ninja, the Kiddie Pool of Death, and the Bottomless Pit, which are all pretty dangerous. 
But luckily, they’re also imaginary. 
First, decide what imaginary obstacles you want your course to have. You may want to use a rock or branch or some other marker to show where you imagine an obstacle to be. As you walk through the course, draw a basic map showing where and what each obstacle is. (Example: “Here’s where you have to walk a tightrope over burning coals. Then you have to crawl like a soldier, etc.”) 
The key to running an Imaginary Obstacle Course is to do it where other people can see you. This could be in a park on a sunny day or near a field where a soccer game is underway. 
As your contestants go through your course, they may look a little eccentric to any onlookers. This is good! Half the fun of this obstacle course is how kooky it looks to outsiders:
————————————
Onlooker: “Why is that boy yelling and acting like he’s being hacked by swords?”
You: “He tried to crawl between the legs of the Whirling Ninja ... and failed.”
Onlooker (confused): “Oh.”
————————————
If you run into imaginary trouble doing this obstacle course (and you will!), don’t worry. You don’t have to finish! Plus, it might give you a chance to use lines like this:
 
Go ahead . . . keep going . . . without me. I tried my best *cough weakly* but now I feel death's breath upon my brow. Tell Mom I love her. But don’t tell my brother anything, because I can see him over there sticking his tongue out at me.” 
Choosing a winner isn’t necessary, but if you insist, it could be whoever does the most incredible acting job or whoever attracts the most onlookers. 
(Or you could just say EVERYONE’S a winner, except anyone who actually finishes the course!)

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