Tuesday, March 30, 1999

Science a breeze on trapeze

New lessons come with greatest of ease

The Cincinnati Enquirer

        On this sunny morning at Clark Montessori School, eighth-grader Orion Covrett needs some help from the teacher. Without pause, Mary Hennigan complies.

        She hands him her belt.

        “I never understood the baggy-jeans thing,” says Ms. Hennigan, who teaches language arts and social studies at the East End school.

        The lesson is force, and Clark teachers are using an unusual prop to teach an old formula — a trapeze.

        Students climb a shaky aluminum ladder to perch on a 24-foot pedestal and chalk up their hands for traction. Then with a few squeals, they fly, knuckles white as they grip the trapeze.

        “It's really fun,” said Orion, 14, of Pleasant Ridge.

        The activity wraps up two months of studies on force. The school's seventh- and eighth-graders learned about the physics of force, mass, motion and acceleration. They're also learning about the force within. Those who try the trapeze face their fears, and their peers become a positive force as cheerleaders.

        Three members of the High Flyers Family Circus of Bloomington, Ind., spotted and coached the students as they tried out the trapeze.


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