Have you tried to catch a falling feather on your nose?
Students first had to learn how to blow their feather into the air. Holding it in the best position so they could blow it up required practise. Some feathers fell straight to the floor while others stuck to fingers. Once this was mastered, students were presented with specific challenges.
Grabbing the feather with their hand as it fell to the floor was certainly the easiest task. Letting it land on a specific part of the body was more difficult. Students tried making the feather land on their arm and then their shoulders. This was followed with their leg and then their face. Landing a feather on their nose caused the most excitement and amusement.
These challenging tasks required students to use several skills at the same time. As the feather descended, students were developing their hand-eye coordination by focusing and tracking the moving object while steering their body into the correct position. They needed to problem solve and predict which direction the feather might float in and where it could land. Students were developing their spatial awareness. Being alert to their surroundings they were beginning to notice if they would bump into something or someone.
Using a paper-plate baton added an extension to the falling feather challenges. Students used a baton to catch, balance, guide, and tap a balloon.
Catching and balancing a balloon on a paper plate seemed easy at first. Most students could keep the balloon stationery using slight hand or body movements. Unfortunately, when Mrs Griffin opened the classroom door a gust of wind blew the balloons in all directions. Chaos, confusion, and laughter erupted.
Guiding the balloons around the classroom seemed easy too. Students had to walk around a maze of tables and chairs while keeping their balloon on their baton. Changing direction and speed caused balloons to escape and drift away.
The most energetic activity was tapping the balloons into the air. The students started with slow, soft taps to become familiar with how their balloon would respond. Next, they used fast, hard taps, trying to make their balloon hit the ceiling. Student’s soon realised balloons don’t always do what you want them to do.
Using equipment, like the paper-plate baton, challenged students to extend their coordination skills away from their body, specifically away from their hands. Tracking the balloon and steering the baton to connect with it provided opportunities for students to develop their gross-motor skills, hand-eye coordination, and problem-solving strategies.