The original Hoberman Sphere is now a classic and a favorite of kids and adults everywhere. It expands from 9″ to 30″ in diameter with a magical motion that amazes everyone that sees it. All spheres come with pullet hardware and instructions to hang as a cool, kinetic mobile. Also included is an educational booklet about the geometry of the Sphere and 21 Cool Things To Do Activity Sheet.
Ages 4 years+
A review by Marcia Working, a musical friend of Music Is Elementary
If you’ve never used a Hoberman sphere, the first thing you want to do it take it out of the package and play with it. Give yourself some time with it and have some fun exploring and thinking about how it can be used in the music room. Here are some ways the Hoberman sphere can be used to support your musical goals. I like using the sphere instead of words. (As teachers, we tend to talk too much.)
- Put on some calm music (optional). Have students breathe in as the sphere expands and exhale as it contracts. You may (or may not) have to explain the first time you do this, but try to get away from talking and use the sphere to show your expectations for the class. Not only is this a visual for good breath support and control, but it can be used as a calming devise.
- Sometimes a class gets excited over a game, movement or dance lesson and needs to refocus for the next activity or to return to their grade level teacher at the end of music class. Just pull out the Hoberman and don’t say a word. Just sit or stand where you can be seen by the class, and begin expanding and contracting the sphere. Exaggerate your own breathing until the group catches on. (Be careful not to hyperventilate!)
Dynamics and Phrasing:
- Use the sphere to show dynamics. As the sphere expands, the volume increases. As the sphere contracts, decrescendo! After you’ve demonstrated, let a student “conduct” the dynamics of a song with the sphere. It brings a visual component to the concept of dynamics.
- The sphere can also demonstrate the beginning and end of a musical phrase, much the same way as with dynamics.
- Expand the sphere. Have the class look for shapes and angles and discuss as a class. Have students chose a partner to work with and find a shape from the sphere and recreate it.
- Expand and contract the sphere. Find a way to do this with your body.
- Expand the sphere and have students concentrate on one line/shape of the sphere. Slowly contract the sphere so that students can follow the pathway of the line they have chosen. Repeat this several times until students feel ready to recreate the pathway they have chosen with movement. After exploring individually, work in small groups and have them create their own Hoberman sphere with group movement. Add music and put together a movement performance piece.
- Repeat the previous group movement sequence, but add colored stretchy bands.
These are just a few ideas to get you started using your Hoberman sphere. I’m sure you will find more get possibilities. Don’t forget to listen to your students’ ideas, as they are often so much more creative and open to possibilities than adults.