Tigers take to Trikkes

October 22, 2008

By Chantelle Lusebrink

School is first in state to try new physical education program

Tiger Mountain Community High School students are proving that you’re never too old for a Trikke.

Ed Cunningham (above left), Tiger Mountain High School physical education teacher, watches as sophomore Bryan King goes for a spin on a Trikke scooter in the covered volleyball court on campus. Senior Alec Du Bois (left) takes his turn on the Trikke. Photo by Greg Farrar.

Ed Cunningham (above left), Tiger Mountain High School physical education teacher, watches as sophomore Bryan King goes for a spin on a Trikke scooter in the covered volleyball court on campus. Senior Alec Du Bois (left) takes his turn on the Trikke. Photo by Greg Farrar.

“It’s cool,” senior Alec Du Bois said while riding a three-wheeled vehicle. “It’s different from P.E., which is just sports. We play sports all the time, and it’s nice to do something that doesn’t involve sports or running.”The school is the first in the state to have the Trikke program, designed for physical education purposes at all grade levels.

With just a covered sports court to play on, the school’s physical education classes are usually limited to basketball and volleyball.

“We’re so limited in what we do here, but this is very creative,” Principal Ed Marcoe said. “It is something we hope the kids will like, but also something that gets their heart, endurance, strength and coordination going — all the things you want kids to be able to experience in a physical education class, while at the same time having fun.”

Essentially, the program gives schools an opportunity to use the three-wheeled Trikkes, which are moved using basic principals of physics, like friction, inertia and the body’s weight.

Ed Cunningham, the school’s Physical Education and Life Sciences teacher, first got the idea for the Trikke program when he saw promoters at a street fair in Seattle’s Lake City neighborhood.

“I thought it might be fun to have at school,” he said. “Then, they told me that they had a whole curriculum and ‘Ding! Ding! Ding!’ that was it, especially since I’m teaching P.E. for the first year ever.” 

From the beginning, students are using balance, coordination and strength to control their movements.

“You really use your core,” said Larry Santos, a Trikke trainer at the school Oct. 16.

After the basic movements are learned, students can use the Trikkes for cardiovascular and strength training.

The program has been used in Hawaii and California, where officials have seen dramatic results in increased physical fitness and a decrease in obesity rates at schools where the program was piloted, said Jim Paulson, a Trikke trainer.

Because of its low impact on joints, students can use Trikkes throughout their lives, maintaining cardiovascular fitness and well-being, Paulson said.

“It’s definitely a full-body workout,” Du Bois said, adding that it’s similar to martial arts in that respect. “I’m moving my entire body as I’m turning and shifting my weight. It’s low impact and it won’t hurt.” 

But physical fitness isn’t the only thing Trikkes provide, Santos said.

“In some of our programs, they’ve seen the students’ moods improve,” he added. “The kids’ studying habits got better and they’re excited for school.”

“It’s like a runner’s high,” Paulson said. “You get to the point where all of your endorphins are releasing and that helps improve mood.”

Trikkes can also be used for recreation.

“Online, they show you the program, but there are other things, like the tricks you can do at a skate park,” Cunningham said, smiling. “Just so I knew what they could really do, I went out to a skate park near my house, really early one morning — that way none of the kids would see me— and tried a couple of them out.”

Cunningham said his adventure was limited to a few small tricks, but they were a lot of fun.

Each of the Trikkes costs $499. Tiger Mountain received three Trikkes for the program, on a three-month loan from the company as incentive for piloting the program. 

Since seeing them, Cunningham said he hasn’t been able to get off the Trikkes himself and he hopes his students get the same thrill he does.  

“If the kids like them, we’ll have to find a way to get them,” Cunningham said, adding he would apply for a grant to help fully fund the program. “But being first in state introducing them, I’m hoping they’ll give us break.” 

 

“I thought it might be fun to have at school. Then, they told me that they had a whole curriculum and ‘Ding! Ding! Ding!’ that was it, especially since I’m teaching P.E. for the first year ever.”

— Ed Cunningham

Physical education and life sciences teacher

 

Reach Reporter Chantelle Lusebrink at 392-6434, ext. 241, or clusebrink@isspress.com.

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