Balancing Act: A Math Lesson

Read It. Move It. Share It. is a collaboration with Kerry from Picture Books and Pirouettes. Once a month Kerry recommends a book for me to use in my creative movement classes. Then I write a post on what I did with the book and how I used it with my students in hopes of giving you some new ideas to use in your classes! Here is the November book. Enjoy!

Balancing Act is one of those lessons that can be done in a pinch, or when you are just looking for something silly and fun to do! It could actually be the cutest book I have ever seen, and trust me, I have seek a lot of books! Here’s how I used the book in creative movement: 

First, I made a see saw on the floor with tape. One straight line, and then a line that crosses in the middle. Just so we knew where the center was.

Next, I read the book all the way through. The book is about two mice who are trying to find their balance on a teeter totter and animals keep adding themselves onto each side and causing it to become unbalanced but then right away it becomes balanced again. Kerry will tell you more about this fantastic book here!

For the movement idea, I helped the dancers keep the see saw even. So, one dancer stood on the line, and then I asked “Is the see saw balanced?” They say “noooo! We have to add a dancer on the other side!” We kept adding dancers to each side until everyone was standing on the see saw.

After we tried it just walking, we tried it with animals. Frogs and birds are in the story so I let them pick the animal they wanted to be. We added an animal (with animal movements, of course)  to each side until everyone was on the teeter totter!

(Hint: If you have an odd number of students, you will need be on the line too!)

Last, we showed the extremes between balanced and unbalanced. We put one dancer on one side of the teeter totter and then all of the other dancers on the other side. It was a pretty funny site. I ask “is it balanced?” Then we tried to figure out how many dancers needed to go to the other side of the teeter totter.

It was also really fun to have everybody jump on one side of the teeter totter and that caused the dancers on the other side to go flying! I think there are so many experiments you could do with this book. I would love to hear your ideas!

I did this lesson with 5 and 6 year olds, but I think 4’s could do it too with a little bit more patience and guidance.

Have you ever used this book? Would you try a “math lesson” with your students?

p.s. Here is another idea if you want to incorporate a see saw into class someday!




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