Introduce gymnastics and the concept of balance.
•Have you ever heard the word gymnastics?
•Who can explain what it is?
•Have you seen gymnastics on TV?
•Have you participated in a gymnastics class?
•What kind of things do you learn in gymnastics?
•Balance – that’s right, what does that mean? (hold perfectly still without moving)
•You’ve got the right idea, today we are going to explore different types of balance activities used in gymnastics called stunts.
Discussion of safety and comfort during activity.
Activity #1: Stork Stand
•Directions: stand with your feet shoulder width apart, balance on one foot with your arms tucked in like a stork’s feathers.
•Have students practice the above balance in their own self space several times. Can they hold the balance for a count of 10?
•Students spin around in circles until they hear the whistle and then try to get into the stork stand. How long can you balance this time?
•Students spin in circles again and when they hear the whistle, they close their eyes and try to stand in the stork stand position. How long can you balance this time?
Activity #2: Airplane
•Directions: stand on one leg with arms out the sides, like a T, raise your back leg as high as you can, keep your head up. Try not to lean forward. How long can you hold this balance?
Activity #3: Finger Touch
•Directions: stand with feet shoulder width apart. Place one hand behind your back with your pointer finger pointing down. Reach around your back with the other hand and grab the wrist of the first hand. Now try to squat down and touch the floor with the pointed finger without falling over. Can you do it?
•Switch hands and try again?
Activity #4: Log Roll
•Directions: lay down across the width of the mat with your arms straight against your side. Try to roll straight down the mat like a log.
•Can you roll very slowly? Can you roll very quickly? Are you staying straight?
Activity #5: 180 and 360 Jumps
•Directions: standing with your feet shoulder-width apart jump high into the air while turning your body 180 degrees, half way around and land safely on your feet (facing the direction opposite from where you started). Did you do it? This is called a 180 jump turn.
•This time jump high again and turn 360 degrees, a full turn, all the way around (facing the same direction that you started) and land safely on your feet. Did you do it? This is called a 360 jump turn.
•Repeat the above and change directions, go clockwise and counterclockwise.
Activity #6: Air Chair
•Directions: Partners, facing each other, place your toes against each other, grab hands, lean back slowly and pretend to be sitting on chairs using counterbalance with your partner. Be careful – don’t fall down. How long can you hold this balance?
Activity #7: V-Stand
•Directions: partners stand side by side, feet together with your inside feet pressing against each other. Holding inside hands slowly lean away from each other forming a V. Move slowly and counterbalance with your partner. How long can you hold this balance? Turn around and try it with the other side.
Activity #8: Double Stand Back-To-Back
•Directions: partners sit down back-to-back and lock elbows, place your feet flat on the ground in front of you. On the count of three push against each other’s backs and attempt to stand up at the very same time. Then sit back down together. Turn around and try this toe-to-toe as well. This time hold hands and hook-sit toe-to-toe.