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Mirette on the High Wire {FI♥AR}

Mirette on the High Wire, set in France, is a story about a young girl named Mirette who learns to walk on the high wire and helps Bellini, a retired high wire walker, overcome his fear. We learned about circus agents, circus acts, balance, set up a high-wire in our back yard (similar to the Slackline), did some experiments with copper, made some circus food (corn dogs and funnel cakes) and even had our own circus! This was a very fun row, and we rowed it in one week. I also included the Bible lessons from the FIAR Character and Bible Study Supplement. We talked about boasting, gifts and talents, determination, and encouragement (I schedule this M-Th).

Here is what our week looked like:

[Monday] Social Studies:

Geography: Map of Bellini's career (Niagra Falls, Barcelona, Spain; Naples, Italy; Alps, Seine River, Paris, France), lapbook activity.

Occupation: Circus Agent [Discussion]

[Tuesday] Language Arts: vocabulary from the story, compound words, and we were able to tie in 2 lessons from our Daily 6-Traits Writing.

Malachi is learning about details in Writing, so while were planning details of our "Circus Party," I had him draw details of the party.

Malachi narrated the story to me a little different this week. We learned that a story has a beginning, middle and end, so he told me what happens in the beginning, middle and end of Mirette on the High Wire for his 6-Traits Writing:


"A stranger came to stay at the boardinghouse. He was the Great Bellini."


"Mirette saw him walking on the air. She wanted to learn so she started practicing."


He drew a picture. [Mirette and Bellini walk on the wire together].

[Wednesday] Science: balance, copper (lesson from the manual and copper layer book from HSS), copper as a conductor of electricity (Build a Battery), Copper Attraction (Science Experiments in a Bag).


We read Usborne Science Activities Vol 3, In Your Ears (p. 34-35). We learned that ears not only help us hear, but they help us keep balance. I had Mali and Elli do the spinning activity from the book.

In the Spotlight

We also read Science Activities Vol 1 p. 52 Traveling Light {there is a spotlight on Bellini when he walks on the wire}

Copper Attraction Experiment from Science Experiments in a Bag

We found the dirtiest pennies we could find (even found one that was turning green) and dipped them in a solution of vinegar and salt water.
After we soaked them in the solution, we rinsed half of them and let the other half sit. . . and put two iron nails in the solution - one half way.

After a few hours, the pennies started to turn green. This happens because. . . the copper atoms from the pennies, oxygen from the air, and chlorine from the salt make a blue-green compound called malachite. (I had to look that up again). 

And the copper ions from the pennies attached to the nails. It wasn't noticeable until I saw the rust colored marks left by the nails. This happens because the positive copper ions are attracted to the negatively charged nail. 

Build a Battery Experiment from 101 Great Science Experiments (#89)

When you place copper, aluminum and salt together, they make electricity. We made a battery by building layers of aluminum foil, salt, and copper pennies. We connected a copper wire to the aluminum disc on the bottom. . .

added the layers of foil, paper soaked in salt water and pennies. Then we attached another wire to the penny on top.

We wrapped on wire around the post of a pair of earphones and used the other wire to scratch the post. 

And we heard the sound of electricity! Static! (:
I explained that a battery is made up of layers of chemicals that react to make electricity. The book had a photo of what is inside a battery. I explained that when a battery dies, it means all the chemicals are used up. (Thanks to my husband for the super idea to use copper as a conductor of electricity). :)

Note: there is also a great illustration and similar activity in Usborne Science Activities Volume 3 p. 18-19. You can make a battery and a meter to test your battery using a "bronze" coin ~ a copper coin would work just as well. 

[Thursday] Art: Circus Posters, Performing Artists ~ Circus Performers: jugglers, acrobats, tight-rope walkers, clowns. {Bellini is Jean Francois Gravelet ~ the "Great Blondin"}

I had Mali and Elli tell me what they wanted their poster to say, downloaded some fun circus fonts and then printed the letters. I cut them out too, and had them help arrange the sign.

We got "Stupendous Feats" from the story and used the shapes from the Circus Preschool Pack (below) to decorate it. (We did the rest of the preschool pack on Friday.)  I also made some signs for the circus acts and carnival games using synonyms of stupendous and had the little ones help me decorate them. Then we had our own little circus! 

With the shapes and numbers printables, I made some cute little bag books ~ thanks to Tamara @ A Homemaker's Heart for the inspiration! She makes the cutest little bag books (see a few B4FIAR books here) and I had to give them a try.

Thanks to Itsy Bitsy Learners for the cute preschool pack!

We also did a sequencing activity and printed a clown sheet for which you make play dough balls for the clown to juggle, but I didn't get around to making play dough. 


Note: I timed our circus during the week that the Y hosts Vacation Bible School - the VBS tents were the perfect back drop for our little circus! 

Here is a peak at our circus fun:

Reciting Bible Bee verses {This little cutie wowed us all!}

Carnival Games

Fun! But, challenging game!

"Funny Photos" Photo Booth

Mirette on the High Wire is a Five in a Row selection from Volume 2. 

Delightful Links:

Preschool Corner {& 5K too!}
Mirette on the High Wire Resources at HSS
Circus Preschool Pack
Circus tickets


  1. You continue to inspire me in my journey to learn more about homeschooling and provide safe, fun, educational ways to make these books come alive! Thank you.

    1. Thank you! ♥ It's such a great way to make memories and inspire a love for learning and a love for books. : )

  2. Where can I get the print outs at to make the Circus Shape book and the Circus Number book?

    1. It looks like the link I provided in the post is being redirected, so they may not be available any longer. Sorry about that.