Balloons Over Broadway

Developed by Ann Toole, PCM Play Practicum 2023, Verizon Tech Enhanced 2023
(FOCUS: Grade 2, Science, Speaking & Listening)

Based on the text, Balloons Over Broadway, students will attempt to solve Tony Sarg’s problem of how to make the balloons for the Macy’s Day Parade move down the streets of New York City at a height that crowds who are not close to the street can see them.

Students will experiment with different materials to elevate the balloons they created so more people can see them. The process by which students experiment with materials to find the best material or materials to accomplish the goal.

Students will have the opportunity to experience the parade through videos they will access using QR codes to get an idea of how popular the parade is, how large the balloons are, and how long the parade route is. QR codes will also be used by students to access a short assessment on the text. Students will, using this link to AR tech, to view how the Macy’s Day Parades from history look on the current NYC skyline.

Materials to gather

  • QR Code to access the Macy’s Day Parade from history
  • Balloons
  • Pipe cleaners
  • String
  • Popsicle sticks
  • Dowels
  • Sticks
  • Paper towel tubes
  • Construction Paper
  • Markers
  • Crayons
  • Glue
  • Tape
  • Googly Eyes
  • Straws

Set Up

  • A table will be set up with materials for students to choose which balloon or balloons they will use to create a character for the Macy’s Day Parade.
  • A table set up with materials for students to choose which materials to use to elevate their balloons. They will be able to experiment with the balloons and materials to see what works best for their balloon size and shape.
  • Students will also need their chromebooks to access the QR codes

Student’s Job

Using their chromebooks, students will use a QR code to access video of the Macy’s Day Parade. Students will solve the problem of how to make their balloons visible to all parade goers using everyday materials and objects. They will Think, Pair, Share their ideas before executing their ideas. After, students will use QR Code to access an assessment. Students figure out a way to have a parade in school to see if their solution for elevating their balloon creations works. They find an appropriate time period, appropriate audience, appropriate length. Did their elevation ideas work and did their balloon make it through the entire parade without losing elevation?

Further Challenges:

Students write the script describing their balloon, what it is, how it was conceived, and created.

Teacher’s Job

Standards Alignment

RICCSS – Rhode Islande Common Core State Standards

Ask questions, make observations, and gather information about a situation people want to change to define a simple problem that can be solved through the development of a new or improved object or tool.

Tell a story, recount an experience, or explain how to solve a mathematical problem with appropriate facts and relevant descriptive details; speaking audibly in coherent sentences and using appropriate vocabulary.

Ask and answer such questions as who, what, where, when, why, and how to demonstrate understanding of key details in a text.

– RI Social Emotional Learning Standards
Use communication and interpersonal skills to interact effectively with others, including those with diverse backgrounds, cultures, abilities.

Prepare/ Background Info
  • Students read the text, Balloons Over Broadway and learn the history of the Macy’s Day Parade. They watch a video of the Macy’s Day Parade to understand what the parade is.
  • Students read the text, Balloons Over Broadway, watch videos to understand what the parade looks like and see how Tony solved his problem of making the balloons visible to all parade goers.
Effective Facilitation Strategies

Ensure students understand who Tony Sarg is and why he is important to the Macy’s Day Parade by reading and discussing the text, Balloons Over Broadway. Focus on Tony Sarg’s interests as a child and his work as an adult. How did he use these to help him solve problems he encountered while working on the Macy’s Day Parade? Discuss how he persevered through the problems he encountered and how he solved them. Discuss that Tony applied his knowledge of puppets to the parade balloons. Vocabulary to learn: marionette, parade, floats, puppeteer, rigged, spilled into the streets. Once students have completed the task, they will then describe their experience in solving the problem to the class.

Play to Notice (Learning Framework)
  • Notice which materials students are choosing and how they are using them. What do they do when they encounter a problem with their idea?
  • Do they persevere? Do they try other materials?
  • Do they talk with another student and work through problems or ideas?
  • Are they speaking audibly to their peer(s)?
Content Matter to Notice
  • Are they using materials that are sturdy and strong enough to
  • hold the balloons up?
  • Are they using materials in new ways?
  • Are they being creative and mixing materials?
SEL to Notice
  • Are students using language to discuss problems and ideas with peers?
  • Are they speaking audibly to their peers?
  • How are students handling the frustrations or failures they encounter?
  • How are they handling their successes?
  • How are they interacting with and responding to other students who want to speak with them about a problem or idea?


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