Photos courtesy of the Bayport-Blue Point School District
The driveway at Academy Street Elementary School was lined with students, faculty and parents who were excited to see the Macy’s Day Parade-inspired parade of balloons, held high by second grade students prior to the Thanksgiving holiday. Named Balloons Over Academy, the annual tradition is actually a science, technology, engineering, art and mathematics project which draws on additional learning in the content areas of social studies and literacy.
One week prior to the parade, classes focused on planning, designing and building their personal balloons. They read Melissa Sweet’s “Balloons Over Broadway: The True Story of the Puppeteer of Macy’s Parade” and learned about the immigrant balloon handlers who wanted to feel connected to American culture. They also watched video clips of prior parades and made lists of the types of characters portrayed in the balloons. During science, the students learned about helium versus oxygen in keeping balloons flying and watched a video on the Macy’s balloons’ inflation.
Wearing handmade turkey crowns, the students then unveiled their balloon creations during the parade. Each student’s name was announced, and his/her balloon was described in the press box. The activity culminated with photos of each class holding the balloons and a surprise visit from Frosty the Snowman.