Integrating tools like leaf blowers can add a dynamic touch to Adapted Physical Education (APE). This guide dives into the innovative use of leaf blowers in APE and outlines the essentials you’ll need to kickstart this engaging activity.
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Leaf blowers in APE can be utilized to replicate a myriad of sports skills:
- Throwing: Students can throw balls and javelins farther distances with the assist of the leaf blower.
- Kicking: Students can work with their feet to touch the ball and trust the leaf blower to get it to the goal!
- Batting: By positioning the blower at various angles, students can use bats or rackets to hit the airborne balls, similar to sports like baseball or tennis. Or use the leaf blower to fire the ball a distance.
- Volleyball Bump & Set: Building a frame for a leaf blower enables me to position my switches to closely mimic the movements the skill requires.
- Shooting a Basketball: With the leaf blower, students can score a basket with a slight movement of the head.
- Golf: Golf shots can be replicated with a series of clamps and a strategically positioned switch.
- Badminton and other racket sports: here a badminton racket and a shuttlecock are both used to trigger the switch in the motion a serve would need to be made.
2. What You’ll Need
a. Leaf Blower: The WORX model is a top recommendation for APE. Its adjustable power settings enable educators to control the force of the air, catering to different activities and student requirements. The removable nozzles provide flexibility in directing the airflow, allowing for a variety of ball trajectories. Its ergonomic design ensures ease of use, making it an ideal choice for APE sessions.
b. Powerlink: PowerLink is a user-friendly tool that lets you control appliances like leaf blowers with ease. Simply plug in your leaf blower and a switch, and you’re set! It works with various buttons, some even wireless. With its clear screen, you can decide how long your leaf blower runs, be it a few seconds or several minutes. Designed to be sleek and straightforward, PowerLink is perfect for beginners, making gadget control a breeze for everyone!
c. Switches: These are essential for interactive sessions. Switches grant students the autonomy to control when the balls are propelled, integrating motor skills development into the activity. This hands-on approach not only enhances engagement but also empowers students by giving them control over the equipment.
d. PVC Frame: Safety and stability are paramount. The PVC frame is designed to firmly hold the leaf blower in place. Given the dynamic nature of the activities, it’s crucial to ensure that the blower remains stationary, preventing any potential accidents or disruptions. The frame, which you can develop over time to meet the needs of your students can provide structure, for you to add attachments, place switches and make the experience more engaging. See the video below for an example of mine.
e. Magic Arms, Clamps & Supports: You may want to add some of these items to help you closely create the skill you want the students to master.
f. Sports Balls & Beach Balls: A variety of balls introduces versatility to the activities. Sports balls, like soccer balls or basketballs, are great for specific skill replication, while beach balls, being lightweight, are perfect for sensory stimulation and beginner-level exercises. For me it is in the detail of matching the skill as closely as possible and these balls go a long way to replicating as close as possible.
With these tools and techniques at your disposal, Adapted PE sessions can be both engaging and effective, offering students a unique way to hone their sports skills. If you have any questions or comments please drop them in the comments below!