The Day Ralph Samuelson Conquered a Lake

article by Anne Renaud , "File:Ralph Samuelson.jpg" is licensed under CC BY-SA 2.5.

Learning Intention: 

I am learning to use a combination of informative tools so that I can develop strategies to communicate my ideas. 


Success Criteria: 

  • I can use the theme and topic of a text to inspire my own ideas. 
  • I can write a detailed explanation of my idea. 
  • I can use a diagram to visually demonstrate my idea.

After reading the story, discuss the way that Ralph Samuelson created a new sport when he was a teenager by combining elements of aquaplaning and snow skiing. Ask students to recall the methods Ralph tried, and the ways he made changes and tested them until he succeeded. Answers may include: 

  • He first tried gliding on his snow skis on the lake’s surface while being towed from a rope tied to a boat. 
  • He tried making skis with wooden slats from a barrel. 
  • He used two large planks of wood to better stay afloat by giving his skis more water surface area, and created harnesses for his feet from scrap leather. 
  • He bent the tips of the skis up using steam, clamps and braces. 
  • He sat back in the water and kept the tips of his skis slanted upwards out of the water. 
  • He held a brass ring for better grasp. 

Further discuss how Ralph evolved his new sport by incorporating other aspects such as slalom (a winding course), acrobatics and ramp jumping. 

Inform the students that they are each going to create their own new sport by combining two existing sports of their choice. They can make the combination as sensible or silly as they like. 

Once they have decided on their idea, they should write a draft plan of how it would work, including:  

  • How the rules of the two sports would combine. 
  • How any equipment would be redesigned. 
  • Which aspects of each sport would be used.  
  • Any challenges that may be faced in establishing their new sport and how they would attempt to overcome them. 

Students should then write a paragraph explaining how their new sport would work and draw a diagram that demonstrates this by creating an illustration of the relevant aspects (e.g. field, court, equipment) and clearly labelling it.