Balloon Modelling Starter for A-level Sociology

Here’s a starter I use for my ‘sociology before Christmas break’ lesson. The aim of the starter activity is for each student to be able to make their own sausage dog or giraffe balloon animal – they’re essentially both the same, one just has a long neck, the other a long body!

You’ll probably want to make a few of these yourself before hand, to get familiar with the process!

Resources required

  • Enough animal modelling balloons, one for each student, plus a few more in case any get popped.
  • At least one manual balloon pump – these balloons are tough to blow up with your mouth!
  • An instruction video on how to make a balloon animal.

Activity instructions

If you’re short on time, then inflate the balloons yourself first of all. If you don’t have time, you’ll have to get students to inflate them, in which case it might be an idea to invest in two balloon pumps.

NB they can be quite difficult to tie.

You need to make sure you leave around two-three inches of un-inflated space at the end!

Once students have their balloons, you can play the video, or model the process yourself, pausing as necessary.

This video works nicely…

End result

Students should have their own balloon animal to take away for Xmas.

Extension work

There’s lots of more complex stuff students can make with balloons, I’m sure they’re capable of finding their way to instructional web sites and videos out there!

Relevance to A-level sociology

I’ve got half an idea that you could make this relevant to experiments somehow – what is the effect of doing this task on concentration? Or something like that? Why do some people choose Giraffes, and others choose sausage dogs?

You could get the students to analyse the sociological significance of balloon giraffes according to different sociologists/ perspectives – what would Foucault make of them, for example? (D’you know, I’ve no idea!)

Or maybe ask the students if they can think of any concepts the process of making a balloon giraffe – anomie maybe?

But TBH, it’s just a bit of fun before Xmas, and once you’ve done the balloon animal things, you can get on with your end of term socrative quiz or Xmas songs.

I’m something of a traditionalist, I believe the lesson before Xmas should consist of nothing constructive, for once!

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