New Tricks:FOUNDATION - HPE - Engage

Little J dreams of being an acrobat in a circus when he grows up. With the help of Jacko and B-Boy, he practises circus tricks in the backyard after school. Uncle Mick, a search and rescue officer, comes to school to talk about his work. Little J uses his circus skills to demonstrate a search and rescue procedure.

Engage - Identify and describe how their body moves through active play

Theme - CIRCUS

After viewing Little J & Big Cuz, Episode 3 ‘New Tricks’, engage students with the following circus style activities to support their understanding about personal and social strengths, resilience, and safety.

Play ‘Circus music’ as students enter the class, to get them in the mood! (Alternatively, play the version from The Wiggles – Popcorn Circus).

Ask students about their prior experience/s of seeing a circus performance and which acts they liked the best. Encourage students to identify the circus acts they have seen, such as; trapeze, tightrope, juggling, tumbling, clowning, etc.,

As a class view the video clip, Circus Oz Promotional Video, and discuss the type of circus it is, the various acts and the performers who feature. List any additional acts students hadn’t identified previously. Explain that Circus Oz BLAKflip is a troupe of Aboriginal circus performers and/or Torres Strait Islander circus performers.

As a class, read/view a selection of stories about the circus, such as:

Have students nominate and share their favourite book about the ‘circus’, and describe the story and/or their favourite character.

Discuss with students the types of ‘acts’ Little J and his friends performed compared to the professional acts the students identified as belonging to the circus. Ask students to nominate a favourite circus act and invite them to demonstrate it, within safe guidelines.

Suggest more examples of circus acts/characters for the students to act out, for example ‘the ringmaster’, ‘clown’, lion tamer, acrobatics, ventriloquist, horseback rider, etc. Develop a class photo-wall, and have students find images related to the circus, and label each with the title of the circus act it illustrates.

Access any episode from ABC Kids – Hoopla Doopla which is a children’s program based on the actors performing circus tricks as part of the story. The episodes are produced in English and Chinese Mandarin. Have students identify the circus tricks that each of the characters perform.


Play ‘circus freeze-frame’ where students enact/play the part of being a circus performer. Play circus music and when the music stops, the students will stop their actions and stand still. Tap one or more students on the shoulder so that they explain which circus performer they are, what circus trick they are doing, and what it feels like to be that performer.