Science/Movement: A Balancing Act
Read the following quote
In ten tries she balanced on one foot for a few seconds. In a day, she managed three steps without wavering. Finally, after a week of many, many falls, she walked the length of the wire.
–FROM Mirette on the High Wire
Then ask: “What do you think helped Mirette keep her balance?” Invite students to investigate their ideas by making a tightrope in the classroom. Place a length of masking tape on the floor or tape down several yardsticks end to end. Let children walk toe to heel from one end to the other, balancing objects on their heads, hopping, skipping, and so on. Explore the concept of balance further by trying these tightrope tests.
- Walk toe to heel with your arms out to your side.
- Walk toe to heel with a book in one hand, held out to the side, while your other arm is at your side.
- Walk toe to heel holding a book in both hands above your head.
- Walk toe to heel holding a book in both hands below your waist, close to your body.
Which was easiest? (The last way lowers your body's center of gravity and makes it easier to stay balanced.)
Social Studies: Who Are Our Heroes?
Mirette was inspired by the great Bellini to realize her dream of becoming a tightrope walker. Take a look at people students admire most. Help children distinguish between being famous and being a hero. Also stress that heroes may be people in our own lives, such as family members and friends.
Introduce children to heroes in history with a mini research project. Help children tailor their research by asking them to list interests and goals. For example, sports-minded children might like to learn about legends Lou Gehrig and Wilma Rudolph. Help children focus their research by answering these questions.
- Why is this person a hero to you?
- What five questions would you like to ask your hero?
- What challenges did your hero face?