Author Topic: Approximating microleg timings  (Read 2577 times)

captain paranoia

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Approximating microleg timings
« on: May 20, 2014, 06:02:15 PM »
Whilst supervising DofE bronze practice at the weekend, I was dismayed by the inability of participants to do simple mental arithmetic.  They're taught to estimate their speed at about 3kmh (yes, it's slow, but it's about right for these groups...), so they're told to allow 20 minutes per kilometre.

We tell them to measure the length of the microleg with the appropriate compass romer (and it's a challenge to get them to use the right one...), and then convert that into the number of minutes they should have to walk until they get to their next decision point or navigation feature.  But they all struggled to do even the simplest of mental arithmetic; 0.3 times 20 proved very difficult, and even 0.2 times 20 produced a variety of results before they finally settled on 4.

I guess this is a consequence of over-reliance on a calculator, and the deprecation of the use of rote learning of the times table, but it's a problem.

So, whilst trying to explain this, it suddenly struck me that, if they stick to their 3kmh, 20 minutes per km estimate, each tick of the romer scale is 2 minutes.  This they could cope with...

I know it's a pathetically simple technique, and would have to be scaled for faster walkers, but it actually seemed to work for the groups I was with.  I'm sure it's been used before, but I don't recall reading about it.

Oh, and the other problem is them not wearing watches; again, technology means they use their phones to tell the time...

ps. the first time I encounter the groups is during supervision; I don't get to do any instruction prior to their expedition...

Lyle Brotherton

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Re: Approximating microleg timings
« Reply #1 on: May 21, 2014, 08:19:09 AM »
I too question our reliance on calculators CP, having found myself clicking the calculator on my computer and then when entering the sum thinking to myself Hold on I can do this faster in my head!

Yet at the same time I wonder if teenagers today any less proficient, or able to perform, mental arithmetic than I was 30 years ago. I suspect probably not.

A possible answer is the environment they are performing these sums in. I say this because I have a similar experience to that of yours CP, only when teaching Pacing & Timing to adults instead of youngsters.

I have also found that I too made mistakes in calculating time vs distance, especially when under pressure; as a consequence I now always carry this card

 
“Opinion is the medium between knowledge and ignorance” - Plato

Callum

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Re: Approximating microleg timings
« Reply #2 on: May 21, 2014, 01:46:11 PM »
To use a calculator correctly I believe it’s important to understand the maths. The same with a pacing and timing card, I carry and use mine all the time, but I learned how to calculate the times first.

Pete McK

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Re: Approximating microleg timings
« Reply #3 on: May 21, 2014, 04:29:17 PM »
I do the maths, all part of the fun of navigation to me, but had not seen the reverse of your card Lyle and these points are less easy to remember - neat :)

Paul Hitchen

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Re: Approximating microleg timings
« Reply #4 on: May 25, 2014, 11:47:48 AM »
That's a good idea Capt P. Mind if I nick it for my doe groups?

I teach DDTT for legs. Distance , direction (bearing) , terrain ( what you expect on route , height change ) and time ( for leg ).  Most then stare at me blankly as teenagers don't wear watches. How they get to school on time is a mystery, but they happily walk down a long dale covered in trees not knowing if they have walked for 20 mins or 40 mins  ,totally watch less.

Most amusing recent items extracted from ruck sacks on bronze ( one over night camp ) = 1kg tub of Nutella, a 12 inch by 6 inch make up bag stuffed with potions and a travel hair dryer .

And that was just the boys...

captain paranoia

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Re: Approximating microleg timings
« Reply #5 on: June 04, 2014, 12:31:36 PM »
Paul, feel free to use the tip if it works for them; many ways to skin a cat, etc.  That's what the forum is for; to share tips and techniques.

Kit wasn't too bad this year; the largest thing I saw was a 500g squeezy bottle of ketchup, which will now hopefully be replaced by sachets from the nearest fast food outlet...  The DofE Expedition Guide has a few clangers in its pages; there's one picture of a cooking scene with a large tub of 'Utterly Butterly', not to mention food and cookware on the ground (E.coli O157 anyone...?).

Oh, I forgot the girl loaded up with 8l of spring water by her mother...