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Granny's Great Leap

How we made the Granny Acrobat Troupe

Mum had been reading her class the Gran series and had left the books on the hexagonal set of drawers in her classroom. I giggled as I thought of either of my grandmothers doing that kind of thing (playing football for a premier league team or hand-gliding). So when Mr. Thompson mentioned acrobats, my first thought was my grandma being an acrobat (my minds not completely on the subject again).

Mr. Thompson gave the design project to Thomas and he stared away at the mechanisms, until when the lever was pushed down, it worked. Now we need some figures, he said, pointing to me and Katie. So he gave us measured side views of the models he needed, drawn in pen, a pack of Fimo and told us to get on with it. The positions of the holes for the dowel connected to the inventor strip were essential. One was to go through her neck, and the other through her extremely bulky thigh. It wasn't important that she balanced, because she was to be suspended on two pieces of dowel. Katie had a problem, because the man she was to make had to balance. We decided that legs apart and enormous feet had to be the answer.

Next problem for Tom. We had to tell him, the stage wasn't wide enough. So poor old Tom had to make the stage wider, just where the man stands. We thought the man would be rather pink, having to hold all that weight up, so we made his flesh colour a bit pinker. The faces seemed to take ages, we didn't realise that was the easiest bit.

We bodged the body out of all sorts of colours, then made thin layers for clothing. Folding Fimo for pleated skirts wasn't very easy. Putting legs was even worse and I ruined the skirt, and had to remove it and start again on it. It was very difficult. Then I realised I hadn't got the dowel rods in, putting these in proved difficult. I had to get Mum to help me by holding the model as I pushed. Putting the doweling through the Fimo blunt endedly just bent the Fimo totally out of shape. We had to sharpen the end with a pencil sharpener. It's a good job we kept measuring up against the picture, because otherwise it wouldn't have fitted.

Katie's largest problem was balancing her figure. He looked the part, but he couldn't stand up. His already huge feet had to be made even more enormous. So Mum held on to him while Katie shoved two more pieces of Fimo on his feet. They now look ridiculously sized.

The Linkages for Granny's Acrobatic Troupe.

Granny jumping onto the seesaw was the easy part. All we had to do was draw a line between the head of granny to where Granny's head would be when she landed on and pushed down the seesaw.

We then had to do the same with the feet. We bisected the lines and drew perpendicular lines from the exact centre of the original lines. We then constructed this using Inventor strips instead of lines, well, Tom did.

Then we started drawing and sketching lines again, but this time it was for the grandaughter. We drew the grandaughter where she was on the seesaw and then where she would be when she was on her grandad's hands. We drew lines from her head to the place where her head would be after she is catapulted, and lines from her feet to where her feet would eventually be.

We bisected these lines, and drew new lines from the centre outwards at right angles for each line. These lines would help us to decide where the linkages would be.

For each figure we cut a piece of inventa strip exactly the size or height of the figure. Anywhere on the bisected line is OK for the controlling linkage but it gets a bit complicated to explain.

Becky Wilson.

  © 2004. Amethyst Consultancy Ltd.