There’s nothing quite like the chaos of a Marion Elementary School physical education class, especially when competitive cup stacking is added to the equation.
Never heard of cup stacking?
Well, it is a legitimate thing that has been around for some time. Cup stackers build different sized pyramids as fast as they can with various numbers of specially designed cups that have holes in the bottom to reduce suction.
The building process looks easy but requires a series of quick, small, and dexterous hand motions.
In a media release, the World Sports Stacking Association (WSSA) said cup stacking, otherwise known as “sport stacking,” promotes hand-eye coordination, brain activation, fitness, teamwork, and speed.
Marion physical education instructor Nicki Case recently discovered the phenomenon and thought it would make a good student activity.
“The basic objective is to keep them physically active and continuously stacking cups in a lot of different ways,” Case said. “It really engages everybody, even the kids who aren’t as athletic and don’t see as much success in sports activities. All the kids could do it. They all saw success and I think that helps in building self esteem.”
Case enlisted 40 fifth grade and 12 fourth grade students to participate in the 10th annual WSSA Stack Up for Thursday’s event. Marion students teamed up with sport stackers around the globe in an effort to break the Guinness World Record in sport stacking for the most people sport stacking at multiple locations in one day.
Plastic cups clacking upon hard surfaces punctuated students echoing laughter and erratic cheering while Case directed the energetic mob by roving the gym and speaking into a wireless microphone headset she acquired with the help of local donors.
“This mic has changed my life,” Case said. “When I’m trying to get 52 kids to do something and they’re all over the gym, they might not know where I am, but they can hear my voice and they know I’m watching. It’s made my life so much easier.”
Marion kids seemed excited about the challenge of making cup pyramids while knowing others were doing it all over the world.
Between stacking activities Madison Arocha said, “This is awesome,” and Chance Shultz said, “A lot of us kids like cup stacking.”
For the event, Case organized different stacking stations including table relays where students broke into six person groups and made three-six-three stacks in a constant rotation.
“It’s just fun, Xavier Hurt said. “It helps me focus, too.”
At another station, a team of boys faced off against a girls team in a race to build a 72-cup pyramid that, once erected, was about as tall as some littler stackers.
“Its fun,” Jalyssa Williams said, “We kind of get to use math, too.”
Teams were given paper and pencil to work out how to make the larger pyramids.
Some groups had trouble and let out a collective gasp when their cups cascaded down and clacked on the gym floor.
“We got to beat all the girls,” Jack Lanning said, while Brayden Hulett backed him up with an energetic, “Yeah.”
Case incorporated a game of chance into activities at the rock-paper-scissors station, where kids first played the traditional schoolyard game, after which the loser had to proceed to a “fit spot” where they built a three-six-three cup stack then did reps of different aerobic activities.
“It brings out my competitive spirit,” Charlotte James said.
Case said students seemed to like the “March Madness” station best. It was set up like a bracket.
Students were separated into four teams that competed in a cup-stacking race. The slowest teams were eliminated each round until the fastest one prevailed as champion.
“I like the motion,” Cheyenne Sawyer said. “It makes my heart pump real fast.”
As of 9:30 p.m. on Sunday, www.thewssa.com indicated 547,914 verified stackers took part in the “2015 Stack up!” worldwide event with more stackers said to be coming in. The goal is 610,000 stackers.