A balancing act

Vandana Aggarwal

A well balanced life is the key to happiness. When we are not able to find the right balance, there will be physical and emotional consequences to deal with. Yet finding it continues to be one of the biggest challenges that humans face.

Whether it’s a time table, curriculum or lesson plans, teachers also have to create a balance in order to draw the maximum advantage from it. Balancing school work, activities and social life is an important skill to imbibe from a young age.

balance Through an interdisciplinary lesson plan on balance, we can demonstrate how different subjects deal with various kinds of balances and influence our lives. It is critical that students connect the dots and realize how balance is vital in anything and everything that we do.

Warm up
Ask the students to stand on one leg. Are they able to do so or do they stumble and struggle? If they focus on balancing, are they able to steady themselves?

Impress on them the importance of balancing their body and mind. Inform them that balance is an important skill which impacts every sphere of their lives.

Draw their attention to the story of Shravan Kumar who set out on a pilgrimage with his parents on a balance. Would that have been possible if his parents had been of varying weights? Older students can be asked how he balanced their different weights (use of counter weights to correct the imbalance).

Numeracy
Balancing numbers can be taught to students through a lesson on creating a budget. This works for all levels of students.

Ask them what a budget is and why is it important? Draw their attention to the fact that a budget has to balance between income and expenditure. Ask them what they think will happen if they spend more than they have.

Organize a bazaar for the primary students. Allocate a certain amount of money for them to spend. Impress on them that they have to differentiate between their needs and wants. As money is limited, they have to make careful choices.

Senior students can learn to distinguish between income (inflow) and expenditure (outflow) by creating a weekly budget under the guidance of the teacher. Economics students can use their understanding of fixed and variable expenses to prioritize their spending and thus keeping the budget balanced.

Balance of trade is another exercise where students understand that balancing imports and exports of goods is important. A deficit occurs if one imports more than one exports and there is a surplus in the reverse scenario. Analyze why the US trade deficit with China is one of the largest in the world and how US President Trump is trying to reduce this trade imbalance issue.

The author has been a teacher and school administrator in India and Singapore for over 20 years. She has a keen interest in interdisciplinary learning. She is currently a free-lance writer and a volunteer transcriber of historical texts at the National Archives of Singapore. She can be reached at vandanaaggarwal@hotmail.com.

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