Take a much closer look at this familiar object. Can your class use their reasoning skills to work out what it is?
Run the activity
You will be zooming in and out of the image above – starting very close and stepping back slowly.
1. Start by asking everyone:
- What do they think the image is and why?
- What does the image remind them of and why?
2. Every time you zoom out, ask the class:
- Can they describe the colours, shapes and textures?
- What do they think the image is now – have they changed their minds?
The ballet shoe is lightweight and specially designed for the rigours of ballet. Typically, it has an outer fabric layer of satin or canvas and a very flexible sole. The sole may be made from leather, cardstock or layers of fabric glued together for stiffness. The sole of a pointe ballet shoe is usually in one piece whereas a ballet slipper (without the toe block) may be shaped into two teardrop sections for the ball of the foot and the heel. This makes it easier to achieve a beautiful point shape in the foot without any fabric of the shoe bunching up around the instep of the arched foot.
The pointe, or toe block, of a ballet shoe, is made from many compressed layers of fabric, card or paper stiffened with glue. The block must be strong to support the weight of the dancer but lightweight. Dancers break in a new shoe before they can use it to ensure that it fits their toes well. Tricks the dancers use to break in a shoe range from bashing it with a hammer to shutting it in a door! Some dancers also darn the toe of the shoe to increase friction with the floor.
Ballet is artistic but it is also physically very demanding. Like athletes in many intensive sports, dancers must train their bodies to build strength and stamina, agility and flexibility.
Take it further
Doing ballet or other forms of dance is a popular way of improving fitness. Why not explore two Big Questions further in this theme: How could you measure the benefits of walking or How can we stay fit and healthy as we get older? The materials that are used to make the sole of a ballet shoe must be flexible and strong. Think about how materials are chosen for their properties with a mystery bag activity or problem solver such as Protect your ears.