New Tricks:FOUNDATION - HPE - Explore

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.

Explore - Identify personal strengths

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.

As a class, view one or more of the CircusOz BlAKflip promotion/performance clips to identify the different circus acts in the clip/s and the various skills required for each act. CircusOz BLAKflip is a troupe of Aboriginal performers and/or Torres Strait Islander performers:

Have students suggest and list the types of circus acts that require the following skills:  such as:

  • balancing and strength acts – unicycle riding, stilt walking, balancing objects, tightrope walking, trapeze, etc.
  • juggling acts – tumbling with objects, trick riding, devil sticks, plate spinning, hoops spinning, etc.
  • acrobatic acts –  ringmaster, clown, lifting and holding acts, animal acts, ventriloquism, etc.

Refer to the A-Z of Popular Circus Acts, The Stick Guy for a list of typical circus acts. Ask students to think about the body movements and skills needed to perform a selection of circus acts.

Invite the students to select one act/movement and find other members of the class who have elected the same act. Form the class into smaller groups, depending on the acts selected. As a group, students design and demonstrate how to do the movement, within safety considerations. The group may also select props to assist their demonstration. Once students have selected their circus skill, they should elect which skill needs a prop, what can be used as the prop, and where to find what is needed to perform the act, e.g., floor pads, ropes, hoops, batons, etc.

After the demonstrations, have the class draw an illustration of themselves or others performing their favourite act in the circus

View Sandy's circus: A story about Alexander Calder and have students design a simple Art Lesson - Wire sculpting inspired by Alexander Calder's circus that reflects the movements of a circus performer:

Organise an excursion when the circus comes to town, or invite Circus Oz (Blakflip) to school and have the performers talk about their work in the circus.

Schools can book a visit through the Circus Oz website. Teachers could also explore the ‘Classes’ section for more teaching ideas.