Our plans were grand, as usual. The web link mentioned public access on Saturdays from 10 to 2 – great! But when we arrived downtown, the kind security guard said, “Nope.” It turns out that the staircases of Republic Plaza (the tallest building in Denver, at 714 feet) are only open to the public each February, when the American Lung Association sponsors a run to the top.
We found out that none of the taller skyscrapers in Denver are open to the public, due to security concerns. Kind of a bummer, but I actually do appreciate the security. I think that Sam was secretly relieved too, as he seemed to be getting more and more nervous, the closer we got to downtown.
So we changed gears, quickly. We made it over to the art museum, climbed a few stairs, and played with light bubbles. And finally we took two tired kids to the top of the museum (the seventh floor), via elevator.
Through it all, Sam kept his Zamzee meter close at hand, to record all the action of the day. He got the Zamzee when we were in Park City, at the evo conference, and he’s been carrying it almost constantly since. The Zamzee is an amped up pedometer (to be more specific, it’s “a three-axis accelerometer specially calibrated to record short bursts of movement as well as vigorous activity”). The meter connects to a private online account through your computer’s USB port, so your child can track daily activity and earn both “Pointz” and “Zamz”, which can then be spent on small rewards. Families can also fund a child’s account with “Goalz” – the child works toward that goal in order to unlock more Zamz.
So far Sam has been earning virtual prizes, like funny outfits for his avatar, which is perfect. It hasn’t become such an extrinsic motivator that he’ll only run for a reward; he is six after all. The Zamzee blog includes an interesting post about extrinsic verses intrinsic motivation. I can see the rewards becoming more compelling to tweens and teens, which is the age range it was originally designed for.
Even though Sam is younger, he’s really enjoyed using it and he also loves participating in the challenges that the Zamzee team posts on-line. I’m considering getting Zamzee meters for me and Michael, in order to play as a family.
The generous folks at Zamzee have donated a starter pack for us to give away this week. The pack includes a meter, a skin, and $5 worth of Goalz.
If you’d like to win this give away, just leave a comment telling us about the highest building you’ve ever climbed. Whether it was 7 stories or 107 stories, we want to hear about it! We’ll do a drawing using a random number generator on Monday, August 13, at 8:00 pm.
We can’t wait to hear about your climbing adventures!