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Unit 2 – Under the big top 

Welcome to the circus!

'Under the big top' is an exploration of all things diverse, exciting, thought-provoking and sometimes confronting.

  • Take your students on a magical trip through time to learn more about P.T. Barnum’s original circus and how the circus has evolved over time.
  • Practise traditional circus skills such as juggling and hula hooping, and explore the use of music in modern circus shows.
  • Learn how to use contemporary dance techniques to convey feelings and emotions.
  • Take a trip through a hall of mirrors to learn about its properties and pitfalls.
  • Explore poetic techniques used to paint a picture in our minds, and discuss how we recognise what is real and what is just an illusion in our own lives.
  • Recognise that being different is actually a fabulous way to be, with everyone known, valued and cared for.

Watch our very special virtual excursion - Join the circus meet the circus performers and share their new-found hula hooping and juggling skills.

This unit of work has been created by Kaelene Neville, Principal, Murringo Public School, in consultation with The Arts Unit, to support curriculum delivery in conjunction with the 2018 Schools Spectacular.

For primary school students, this unit is recommended for students in Stage 2.

View unit contentJoin the circus

Unit content

Program scope and sequence

Duration: 4 weeks (approximately 20 hours)

In this unit of work, students will take part in integrated activities from across the English, mathematics, creative arts, science and technology, history and PDHPE syllabi. 

They will take part in three assessment tasks, reflecting the theme and the skills being covered in the unit. The activities can be taught individually but, as they flow from one to the other, are ideally taught as one entire unit.

Teaching materials

  • Worksheets and assessment tasks as included in this unit of work.
  • Various YouTube clips and websites are used throughout the unit and referenced in the teaching and learning activities.

Virtual excursion – Join the circus

We hosted a very special virtual excursion via Distance and Rural Technologies (DART) Connections to introduce some of the circus performers for this year’s Schools Spectacular. They demonstrated their skills in juggling, unicycle, globe walking and acrobatics.

Students submitted videos of themselves asking a question to be answered by a circus performer.

They also videoed themselves demonstrating their new-found hula hooping and juggling skills. We shared some of the best videos as part of the virtual excursion for students from other schools to watch.

SpecEd - Join the circus

Video transcript -
SpecEd - Join the circus

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