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squierbypetzl
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Jan 10, 2007, 10:06 AM
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Teaching kids knots
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Other than getting a few select children to enjoy climbing, this has always been the biggest problem Iīve encountered, getting them to learn how to tie-in.

Just yesterday I spent a half hour sitting down with a boy tying the same figure 8 knot over and over again until he finally got the idea down (pretty much), not too bad until you consider itīs like the 3rd time itīs happened. The shortest classes are just an hour long, and I catch flak from parents whenever they think their kid hasnīt climbed enough that day.

Usually what I do is spend the first few classes belaying them and following them while they traverse, telling them how to grab and step and move and whatnot, just to get them enjoying their climbing. Then the next class Iīll let them climb a couple times and spend the rest of the class teaching them how to tie in. Like I said before, sometimes the parents donīt seem to want their kids to learn more about how to climb, and are content to basically pay for a climbing babysitter.

Anyone have any suggestions to make learning knots, specifically figure 8s, easier? Rhymes, games, special step by step instructions. . . Iīm at a loss for anything really creative here, so please chime in.


(This post was edited by squierbypetzl on Jan 10, 2007, 10:07 AM)


wanderlustmd


Jan 10, 2007, 10:22 AM
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Re: [squierbypetzl] Teaching kids knots [In reply to]
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Yeah teaching kids is tough....not much attention span in many cases. When I taught guitar to kids, I would ask what songs they liked, and then teach him/her one and introduce concepts off what the song had. Lots of kids like blink 182, who base a lot of their melodies of one scale... So I'd show them the riff and then say "look, all it is are these notes." Then they would look at me and say "show me more!" All kids want is to have fun, most often

You're right about having to make it interesting, and nemonic devices such as rhymes ect. help. Have you tried the car-road analogy for the 8? In terms of retracing the actual knot, my teacher always said to treat the 8 as a road and the end of the rope as a car and the car follows the road. Easy way to rememberWink If he's having trouble forming the actual fig 8 framework for the knot from a straight piece of rope, then try having him take the end of the rope and go "up the tree, around the tree, down the tree and through the rabbit hole into hell" or something lol.

Or just tell him each time he screws it up you'll drop him when he climbs. Problem solvedCool

In terms of parents, explain to them what you said in your OP; you have a plan to teach them to climb as well as how do do it safely. If they give you hell, tell them you're just trying to keep everyone safe. If they still have issues, key their car


(This post was edited by wanderlustmd on Jan 10, 2007, 10:23 AM)


elnero


Jan 10, 2007, 10:53 AM
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The other day I heard something along the lines of 'wrap the rope around her neck, then punch her in the face' as a way to remember tieing an 8. While wildly inappropriate i thought it was pretty funny.

I think the best ive heard was the already mentioned race track method, the car going around and retracing the track.


wanderlustmd


Jan 10, 2007, 10:58 AM
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elnero wrote:
The other day I heard something along the lines of 'wrap the rope around her neck, then punch her in the face' as a way to remember tieing an 8. While wildly inappropriate i thought it was pretty funny.

I think the best ive heard was the already mentioned race track method, the car going around and retracing the track.

Forget the racetrack, yours is much betterSly


tradgal


Jan 10, 2007, 11:05 AM
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I hate teaching knots to adults and kids alike! But, I find that knowing more than one way to tie the figure eight gives different types of learners options.

Method I find that works the best...the "girly method." Don't ask why, but people love it.

-take a bight of rope and hold it up beside you.
-your working end should be touching the floor, while your bight is at waist level
-the girly art is holding the bight with your thumb and first finger...anyway
-take the bight and twist it twice
-now take your working end and feed it through the eyehole you just made, but going away from you...

it helps to teahc kids a little about ropes/ knots to begin with...such as bight, working end, standing end.

good luck


mckbill


Jan 10, 2007, 11:08 AM
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"P" is for Pirate.

What do we do with Pirates?

We choke em (wrap once around the p) and
poke-em in the eye (feed the end through).


I like the image of a car following the track back from where it came. It seems kids would catch on to that quickly and retain it.

Good luck


dynosore


Jan 10, 2007, 11:36 AM
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Hold up the bight of rope so the closed loop is at the top, it looks like a "head". If you're teaching girls, hug and then kiss the "head" (rope around and through). If you're teaching boys, choke and poke Sly


pro_alien


Jan 10, 2007, 12:40 PM
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I'm pretty bad at learning knots myself.

Give them a piece of scrap rope and a cheat sheet to take home and practice with.

Looks like I use something similar to the "girly method" - twist to get a bight, hold it with two fingers and then run the free end around the bight and through the loop. Very quick.

I had a hard time with the figure 8 rethread (silly complicated explanation) until I realized - just follow the rope back out.

Pascal


basilisk


Jan 10, 2007, 1:48 PM
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another vote for girly method. twist, twist, stab. it's the simplest way i've found to make the 8.

i think i learned the hard way at first. i knew the overhand from scouts, and realized the 8 was just a continuation of it. somewhere along the line i learned the "girly" method and every now and then, in an attempt to make a joke, i would tie in at the crag with it. as i did it, i would say the steps aloud "pinch, twist, twist, stab! hooray!" and then my partner would look at me at say "what? that was so easy! i can't believe i never learned that!"

side-note: i vote we find a new name for said girly method, on account of the sexist implications it makes


benmoreite


Jan 10, 2007, 2:50 PM
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Try having the kids sit facing you and then turn your back to them and lie down. Hold your hands up over you so that as you show them the knot your hands are moving the same way their hands are, rather than being a mirror image.


Partner ctardi


Jan 12, 2007, 1:04 PM
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I use a similar story, and that is that we make a snowman, wrap a scarf around him, then poke him in the eye.

For the re-trace, i've never really had a problem student. I have used the race track, but usually am tieing in beside them, help them the first time, and say that you follow it exactly. I'll often stay tied in so they can look at the knot while they are trying their first few.

If they are having trouble, I send home a short peice of rope with them to practice with.


getsomeethics


Jan 12, 2007, 2:29 PM
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the best luck i have had is with the car analogy or whatever it takes to make it seem like more fun then tying a knot actually is. i tried to stay away from bights, standing end and other terms as a result of the looks, yawns and whatevers i would get.

as for the parents and the concern for the amount of climbing their jam-eaters are doing, ask them if they would like little johhny or sarah home tonight with all bones in one piece. or ask them if they wanted a babysitter then they should have called the kid down the street.


(This post was edited by getsomeethics on Jan 12, 2007, 2:31 PM)


knudenoggin


Jan 12, 2007, 10:19 PM
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squierbypetzl wrote:
... to learn how to tie-in. ...
Anyone have any suggestions to make learning knots,
specifically figure 8s, easier?
Yeah, can the Fig.8 and teach them the Bowline,
tied by the quick-tie method, with extra tucks.
Kids have relatively small hands & arms, so it should be
easier for them to do this than an adult. As the knot is
much formed by dominant-hand arm & wrist movement,
it's done quickly enough for limited attention spans! Tongue

ASSUME RIGHT-HANDEDNESS:
Reeve rope through harness. Hold the end with about
a foot dangling beyond one's grasp, in right hand;
hold the other side leading to belay in the left hand.
With a bend of the left hand rightwards, bring the right
hand/end under-forward-up-and back down betweem
the rope sides (essentially, making a circle around the
left hand with right (pinky-to-knuckles-to-palm)),
and out away to the right of the belay/long end.
--you just made the rabbit hole and got the critter
starting her exercise!

With rope still held by hands, the right hand reaches
partly over the belay line ("tree") to finger-feed the
end back to the rabbit hole to be brought back through
it when removing the right hand.

To secure this Bowline, make a similar collar (no
flash method here) around the part held by the left
hand, and then trace the first-formed collar
around the to-belay line. (doesn't matter which
way you trace this--left-to-right or other way)
(Before the tracing, you have the Janus Bowline,
shown here (and initially presented in the 1928 Alpine
Journal): http://i3.tinypic.com/wjwh1t.jpg )

You end up with the end passing FOUR times through
the rabbit-hole nip, and a double collar where the
common bowline has but one.
done. (no, no "back-up" knot; this end would have
to slip out of the central nip--going in opposite
directions ! three times to be untied.)

In dressing the knot, snugging the single collar around
the one leg of the eye/loop, a little, will add to the
knot's security by keeping the rabbit hole from loosening.

*kN*


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