Teaching Tips for #31 Perfect Balance:
This book presents great opportunities for cross-age teaching. Arrange for your most capable older students to take their balances and unmarked activity sheets into a lower grade and mentor younger children one-on-one.
As with many TOPS units, these activities give helpful practice in reading and following directions, thus encouraging independent study. Physical results give almost instant feedback, and quick success builds student focus, confidence and enthusiasm. Perfect Balance is a particularly good subject for students for whom English is not their native language.
Keep a couple of balances available in a corner workstation for students who finish tests early, or for constructive activity on rainy days. Consider extra credit for students who construct new math challenges for others to solve with the balances.
Because the constructed balance beams can easily be sent home upon completion of class activity, students can have fun inventing their own independent extension activities.
NOTE: We encourage improvisation - it's one of the main goals of our hands-on approach! You and your students might invent a simpler, sturdier or more accurate system; might ask a better question; might design a better extension. Hooray for ingenuity! When this occurs, we'd love to hear about it and share it with other educators. Please send ideas and photos to firstname.lastname@example.org.