Body: Got wheels?

29 Nov

After lugging rocks for the Earth Science Unit, reams of paper for foldables, Teaching Editions for lesson planning, and much, much more on a daily basis, my little foldable crate collapsed before I made it to my classroom one day.

Office Depot® Brand Mobile

I had gotten my collapsible crate on special during the summer thinking it was sturdy enough to handle the job. Before we made it to lugging the pumpkin for pumpkin studies in October, the little plastic pin supporting the bottom flap of the collapsible carte broke. After trying unsuccessfully to find a way to rig the crate so I could still use it as a lightweight carrier, I laid it to rest with my recycling.

I’ve been in search for a replacement. After years of sporting back packs,  teacher bags (sometimes 3 per shoulder),  and at one time even one of those collapsible metallic grocery carts (untill the joints gave out and it would no longer keep its shape when loaded with objects) I started having back trouble last year. It became clear to me that I needed to be smarter about how I transported the “peripherals” for my lessons. Hence the search begins for the new best set of wheels to cart materials to the classroom.

I observed one of my peers has graduated to an actual cart. Taking into consideration that most crates on wheels will probably have a similar construction as the one pictured above, the platform cart actually makes a lot of sense. The small platform makes it possible to arrange boxes and bags of materials, and there is no crate to wear out. A small dolly such as this is made to handle more weight. While the durability is a big plus, the portability and the comfort of a box construction to keep things from rolling away is lost. Were it not for the hefty price, the durability and possibility of sustaining heavier cargo with less slippage would make this my first choice.

Rubbermaid Convertible Utility CartPlatform Truck BlackRed

Another one of the options I considered was the following cart:

Smart Cart Expandable Wheeled Carrying Case

I like the fabric because then there would not be the issue with the plastic supporting pins. In addition, the cart looks collapsible. The problem here is that the cart does not seem sturdy enough to allow stacking given that the size is not generous.

Right now, I’m leaning towards the following option:

I like the flexibility this upright dolly offers. There is still the possibility of objects sliding out. At the same time, this dolly is versatile enough to allow stacking and moving plastic tubs back into the classroom after summer; carrying textbooks at the beginning of the school year when it is time to check out materials; and lugging miscellaneous objects in between. If there is only a heavy book bag or two, they could probably be strapped on with bungee cords. The protection from the rain that the collapsible cart offers is lost. What is not lost is the foldability as well as the affordability of the dolly.
Until classroom materials such as rocks, pumpkins and reams of paper fit nicely onto a flash drive or some other such device of the future, being proactive about protecting the back and shoulders will remain a priority. And as long as we use realia and hands-on lessons to help our students learn, we will be in dire need of an efficient, durable, reasonably priced, and preferably pretty means of packing and transporting all that stuff.

One Response to “Body: Got wheels?”

  1. Rebecca McGreevy January 9, 2014 at 12:50 am #

    Hello, my name is Rebecca and i was reading your comments and thought i would help out. I am the cart specialist at E-Complete, LLC and we sell most of the carts above. I do agree with the plastic carts in a sense. They can hold a bunch, however, i have found after working with them that it all depends on the way the cart is filled with heavy objects and then how it is handled once it is loaded. TLC is a MUST with the plastic carts. We have been trying to figure out new carts to help out our teachers. If you or anyone else has any questions about any kind of cart feel free to take a look on our site and call with any questions that you may have.
    We have some metal carts with liners available. Those carts may do the trick.

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