Our Own Balloon Parade!


During the past month, my 2nd Grade students have learned about the history of the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade.  I had never known the rich history surrounding it until I read a book called “Balloons Over Broadway” which I also shared with students.  It describes the puppeteer, Tony Sargh, who was asked by Macy’s Department Store in the early 1900s to create mechanized puppets to be placed in windows of their stores.  Later, Macy’s asked Tony Sargh to create a puppet street parade to celebrate the street parties that people had been accustomed to before they left their homes and immigrated to the USA.  Over time, Tony Sargh redesigned the balloons to be made out of rubberized silk and they flew high above New York streets.

I have included my Google Slide Show in case you’d like to see the book and see my lessons.  My students went through the engineering design process to develop balloon characters on paper, then created their designs using actual balloons!  They hooked them to plastic sticks, taped them to Sphero Chariots and learned to navigate their balloon float through our school hallways by controlling the Sphero robot which was located under the Sphero Chariot using the Sphero EDU app on iPads!

I loved collaborating with the Art Teachers at my school so that the students made the balloons during Art Connect Class.  In Art, students also made two large murals to go in the hallways where they drew New York City Skyscrapers and faces of people in the windows who would watch the parade as students drove their Balloon floats past the murals!

The children loved getting to shake bells or play sticks during the parade which gave us the feel of live music!  The children had to problem solve and apply their understanding of how Sphero robots work to make this project come alive.  They loved being a part of it all and I did too!

Here is the link to my presentation which I showed each class!

Google Drive “Balloons Over Broadway” link:  https://docs.google.com/presentation/d/1cnjlZaOMNunKaSrJvLm489iNCYmQq8LNRxFOUkUHpW0/edit?usp=sharing

I am also including some of the videos that I have taken of each class in the school!









I am excited about the last phase of the project where I will have partners develop and write out at least three reasons of why they think that their balloon character should be in the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade on an index card.

Next, I will have them scan a Flipgrid QR Code to open a Flipgrid project.  They will record a Flipgrid about why their group’s balloon character should be added to the actual Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade and give at least three reasons from their index card.  The balloons are losing air and are deflating but I hope that they will last one more week until I see each class again so that each group can hold their balloon as they read their reasons for their balloon to be included in the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade!

They will watch each others’ Flipgrid presentations and share positive feedback.  

We will also check out this year’s Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade Balloons and watch each class’ Balloon Parade Video that we created in our last class.  Happy Thanksgiving Everyone!


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