Source: Society of Health and Physical Educators (SHAPE) America. Standards (2013). Grade-level outcomes for K-12 physical education. Reston, VA: Author.
Your Cerebellum helps you balance, dance, and ride a bike.
In this activity, you will provide practice with non-locomotor stability, or balance, to embody the concepts in NeuroPlay Adventures game Brain Balance. Next, introduce a simple exercise where students reach across the midline to balance while also touching knee and elbow.
Before the Lesson
Move furniture or find another area where you will have space for students to do balance activities. You need just enough space for each student to stretch arms out to sides.
Prepare a browser with the online video set up, ready to show on a monitor or screen.
Listen to and watch the Cerebellum Helps You Move and Go song on YouTube. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DzXVYhLVRRo
Now talk with the students about balance. Ask the students for a volunteer to describe what balance is, in his or her own words. Tell the students that part of being strong is having balance, the kind that allows you to stay still in a position, even while standing on one foot.
If you have already played the NeuroPlay Adventures game Brain Balance, point out that balance can shift depending on where weight is placed. The position you are about to try is similar to the shifting of balance presented in the game.
Next, you will lead the students in using the Tree pose from yoga to maintain balance with stillness.
Have students start by standing straight with both feet planted beneath them, emulating the trunk of a tree.
Say: Put all of your weight onto the right leg. Bend the knee of the left leg, bringing the left foot up. Let the sole of the left foot reston the inside of the right leg.
Note that some students may prefer to try with balancing on the left leg and placing the right foot on the opposite leg.
Encourage students to keep working towards balance. It may take students a few tries to find the balance to hold the tree pose. Encourage them to re-balance themselves, focus their eyes again on a spot in the distance, and lift one foot again.
After some students have been able to hold the pose for a short period, tell them that the next step is to hold arms out to the side.
Say: See if you can count to ten. If you are ready for a really big challenge, try closing your eyes!
Make sure each student has had an opportunity to experience some success with balance and stillness before moving on.
To give students an opportunity to integrate movement on the right and left, teach this quick knee and elbow movement.
Tell students to stand on one foot, then bring the other knee up and across to touch the opposite elbow. To do this, they will need to stretch diagonally across their body.
Left knee cross over to right elbow, lower foot to the floor.
Right knee cross over to left elbow, lower foot to the floor.
Repeat the above a few times until everyone has had time to successfully cross the midline.
Crossing the midline of the body in this way helps to build neural pathways that contribute to the development other skills.