Today’s Wonder of the Day was inspired by Xitlali. Xitlali Wonders, “What makes you bounce on a trampoline?” Thanks for WONDERing with us, Xitlali!

Life has its ups and downs, doesn’t it? On Sunday, you might go on a hike with your family. You’ll have fun enjoying the great outdoors. The next day, you’re back in your routine. You head off to work or to school, wishing the weekend could last forever.

Some people make ups and downs a favorite part of their spare time, though. To get exercise, they head out to the backyard to jump up and down on a fun contraption. Sometimes, they even do flips. What are we talking about? The trampoline, of course!

The origins of the trampoline are likely hundreds, if not thousands, of years old. The Inuit peoples played a game with their children using walrus skin. Several people held the skin tightly as they tossed kids into the air and then caught them. Other ancient groups played similar games using blankets.

George Nissen and Larry Griswold made the first modern trampoline in 1936. The two were student competitors in gymnastics and diving. Inspired by the tight nets trapeze artists used, they made a new exercise tool. They used springs to attach a large piece of canvas to an iron frame. The trampoline was born!

They named their device after the Spanish word trampolín, which means diving board. At first, they mainly used their invention as a gymnastics tool to train tumblers. Before long, though, it became a popular tool for exercise and entertainment for all. The two went into business in 1942 as the Griswold-Nissen Trampoline & Tumbling Company.

Today, trampolines are still very popular. They’re still used widely in gymnastics, and they’re also quite popular as a form of exercise equipment. More than anything, they’re used for play by children of all ages.

If you’ve ever been on a trampoline or seen one in action, you know what they do. When you jump on the trampoline’s surface, it gives way briefly and then launches you into the air. The more force you jump with, the higher into the air you can fly. What’s going on here?

Some people think it’s the trampoline’s surface that works to launch you into the air. Instead, the springs actually do the majority of the work. When you jump on a trampoline, the springs stretch as you force the trampoline surface downward. Then, the springs pull back against your weight. They return to their normal position. This pulls the fabric back into its original place and launches you into the air!

As you jump higher and higher into the air, you will fall from greater and greater heights. As long as you continue to land on the trampoline’s surface, you’ll be fine. Unfortunately, people who aren’t careful may land on the springs, the metal frame, or even the ground. Such falls can lead to serious injuries. That’s why trampolines can be very dangerous! To make them safer, many people add safety devices, like pads and nets.

Do you like to jump on a trampoline? Can you do any cool flips or tricks? As long as you’re taking steps to stay safe, trampolines can be a lot of fun!

Standards: NGSS.PS2.A, NGSS.PS2.B, CCRA.L.3, CCRA.L.6, CCRA.R.1, CCRA.R.2, CCRA.R.10, CCRA.W.3, CCRA.L.1, CCRA.L.2, CCRA.SL.1

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