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Name of Activity:
Balancing Foot Jenga
Purpose of Activity:This activity will allow students to work on their balance, while also incorporating physical fitness. Students will be balancing while they wait for their turn, and then perform the exercise that is written on the Jenga piece they take out.
Prerequisites:Students will have learned what balancing is and how they know when they are properly balanced. Students should feel comfortable balancing on one foot, both right and left.
Suggested Grade Level:9-12
Materials Needed:Sets of Giant Jenga Blocks (number depending on how many students per class, working in groups of 3. Giant Jenga can also be played using boxes or blocks if actual game pieces are not handy. Teacher will write exercise prescriptions on each block, such as 5 sit-ups, 10 second wall sit, or 5 push ups.
Description of Idea
The regular Jenga game is lots of fun and it promotes healthy, fun competition! Playing giant Jenga with your feet requires you to become more focused on balance and not knocking the tower over!
Balancing Foot Jenga will allow students to engage in some friendly competition, while working on improving balance and physical fitness! Students will break off into groups of 3 and go to their designated Jenga station. Like in the regular game of Jenga, the goal is for the students to push out the pieces without knocking the tower over. But in this version, the students will be pushing the pieces out using their feet! They will have to find a balanced position in order to push the blocks out without knocking the tower over and losing balance. When the student pulls a block out, the group will read the exercise stated on that block and perform it together. While one student is working to push a block out, the other 2 students will hold any balancing position of their choice until their turn comes. The game will continue until one student pulls a block out that knocks the tower over!
Teacher will meet with each group during the activity and ask them how they know if they are balanced or not. Teacher will ask students for feedback on how they can individually improve their balance.
Points that should be taught and assessed:
1. The average position of an objectís weight distribution is called the center of gravity. If a person does not have a uniform weight distribution then the center of gravity will be closer to where most of the weight is located.
a. The higher the center of gravity, the more likely that an object will be out of balance.
b. Holding your arms out lets you easily shift your center of gravity from side to side, keeping it over your base of support.
2. Standing upright, an adult humanís center of gravity is located roughly at the center of their torso at about the height of the belly button (at about 55% of the total height). The exact location of a personís center of gravity will shift depending on the pose. For example, if a personís CG rises a few inches when she raises her arms. The center of gravity can even be at a point outside the body, such as when bent over in an inverted-U pose.
3. The line of gravity is an imaginary vertical line that extends upward and downward from an objectís center of gravity. The line of gravity helps you determine balance; if it passes through the base of support then the object is in balance. If the line of gravity touches the ground at a point outside the base of support then the object will tip over.
4. An object is in balance if its center of gravity is above its base of support. By moving your feet, you can an increase or decrease the area of your base of support. The larger the base, the easier it is to keep center of gravity above it and stay in balance.
Adaptations for Students with Disabilities
Students with a visual disability can work on balancing in their group, just without pushing pieces from the tower. They will also perform the exercises with their group. In addition, students using a wheel chair can use their hands to pull out a Jenga block or use a foam noodle as an extension to push the block out. Lower grade students can also play balancing foot Jenga in a modified form. They will still work on balancing when it is not their turn, but instead of using their feet to push the pieces out, they will just use their hands. This will allow the younger students to be more successful with the game. The younger students will also perform the exercises as the older students do.
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