May 1: The leg shop

So, you don’t have any legs. What do you do? You build some new ones that are even more awesome.

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Below are some talking points and activities to pass the time, all relating to today’s story.

Talking points

Discuss the ideas presented in the story with your family—at home or over video conferencing. Find ways to involve as many people as possible, especially those who you know are isolated by the lock-down.

  • If you had to make do without an arm or a leg, which do you think you would miss more, and why? What would you most miss doing?How do you think you would adapt to keep doing your favourite activities? What might be your biggest challenge—physical, mental or emotional?
  • Jennifer Wright, who makes prosthetic limbs, describes how she always knew she wanted to work with her hands. How did her childhood help her get ready for the job she does now? What were some key turning points and opportunities that led her to be ready for her job making prosthetics?
  • It’s important that the people who work at the articifical limb centres have good people skills. How do you think their customers are feeling as they arrive at the limb centre? How could they be helped to feel better about the situation they are facing? What might make them feel worse? Why is feeling good about the situation important for recovery from a physical trauma?
  • Two year old Lydia, who is pictured, needs to get her prosthetic leg adjusted every month and a new one built every nine months. In addition to growing quickly, why else might a child need a constantly evolving, upgraded leg?
  • What kind of innovations do you think the future of prosthetics? What would you design if you had the technology?

Task—Make a Marionette Puppet

This simple marionette or string-controlled puppet allows you to control your puppet from above, making it great for puppet shows.

  1. Cut a paper-towel cylinder down to about 10cm long. Make some slits around the top and bottom to allow your puppet person to have a head and to stand.
  2. Poke holes into the sides. Slide a pipe cleaner or another kind of wire through the holes and twist them into arms with a loop for hands at each end.
  3. Make a head for your puppet—a ping pong ball is an easy solution. You could also crumple paper into a ball and over this with a sheet of smooth paper or some fabric.
  4. Dress your puppet in scraps of fabric. Wool makes good hair.
  5. Attach long lengths of string to the hands.
  6. At the other end of the string, tie on two ice-block sticks stuck together in a cross shape; this is your hand-hold.
  7. Give your puppet a name and a character and tell a story with him or her.

Send us a picture of your Marionette puppet!