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Outer Space Circus

Imagine circus feats on other planets. Research gravitational, surface, and atmospheric conditions.

  • Grade 3
    Grade 4
    Grade 5
  • Multiple Lesson Periods
  • Directions

    1. During a study of the universe, invite students to research information about weightlessness, temperatures, and other characteristics of different locations in outer space. Imagine how these would affect imaginary circus performers' actions, clothing, and appearances. Organize students into small groups and have each group choose a planet, moon, or other location to create an outer space circus sculpture.
    2. Students cover their work area with recycled newspaper. Encourage them to experiment with creating different color effects using Crayola® Model Magic. Blend white and colored compound to create tints, or mix colors and black to make shades. Blend two primary colors (red, yellow, blue) together to produce a secondary hue (orange, green, violet). Create a marble effect by incompletely blending different colors. For multi-colored layers, flatten two or more pieces of Model Magic by hand or with a rolling pin or dowel stick. Stack the pieces flat on top of each other and roll tightly like a cinnamon roll. Cut segments with Crayola Scissors. Connect pieces to make forms. Roll out three 1/2-inch or larger coils (rope-like strands) about 1 foot long. Pinch three ends together. Braid. Roll into a longer coil if desired.
    3. Explore Model Magic construction methods using these techniques. Sculpt basic forms with fingers. Press pieces firmly together to attach. Add support(armatures)to long, thin forms by molding the Model Magic around drinking straws, coffee stirrers, or toothpicks. Create appendages and details with modeling tools such as plastic knives. Press onto basic forms. Cut or press textures into the Model Magic after it has stiffened slightly.
    4. Add sparkle to the circus performers by pressing glittering chenille sticks or sequins onto the sculpture, or by adding Crayola Washable Glitter Glue.
    5. Student groups present their Outer Space Circus model to classmates.
  • Standards

    LA: Describe the relationship between a series of historical events, scientific ideas or concepts, or steps in technical procedures in a text, using language that pertains to time, sequence, and cause/effect.

    LA: Engage effectively in a range of collaborative discussions (one-on-one, in groups, and teacher-led) with diverse partners on grade level topics and texts, building on others’ ideas and expressing their own clearly.

    LA: Produce clear and coherent writing in which the development and organization are appropriate to task, purpose, and audience.

    SCI: Provide evidence that Earth is spherical and the gravitational force of the Earth causes objects near the surface to be pulled toward the planet’s center.

    SCI: Obtain, evaluate, and communicate information about the roles of science and technology in the design process for developing and refining devices to understand the universe.

    VA: Intentionally take advantage of the qualities and characteristics of art media, techniques, and processes to enhance communication of experiences and ideas.

    VA: Select and use the qualities of structures and functions of art to improve communication of ideas.

  • Adaptations

    Possible classroom resources include: What Is Gravity? by Lisa Trumbauer; Gravity Is a Mystery by Franklyn M. Branley; The Everything Kids' Nature Book: Create Clouds, Make Waves, Defy Gravity and Much More! By Kathiann M. Kowalski

    Students select a single planet and investigate its qualities. Organize research into an electronic format for presentation to classmates. What is the size of the planet? Where is it located in our universe? What is its gravitational pull? Is life as we know it possible? Why or why not?

    Students write, design, and illustrate posters or newspaper ads for the circus performance. Make sure all important details are included such as act names, places, dates, cost of admission, and descriptions of circus acts.


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  • Creativity.
  • Capacity.
  • Collaboration.
  • Change.
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