Activities for Book

STEAM Activity Inspired by Left-Sided Angel:

Measuring and Analyzing Your Ability to Balance on One Leg

Tools needed: 

  • stopwatch to measure elapsed time
  • paper & pencil to record time

This activity is best executed with two individuals on a flat floor, “balancer” and “recorder.” The balancer performs the balancing activity and the recorder measures the elapsed time from when the balancer lifts their foot from the floor and drops it to the floor. The balancer can perform multiple attempts; the recorder should record the elapsed time for each attempt.  If an attempt is over very quickly without less than 1 second should be recorded as a “scratch” attempt.

The recorder makes a table of the attempts:  the date, number of the attempt, and elapsed time of the attempt (or record as “scratch” if the leg drops faster than 2 seconds. The recorder will continue to create and update the chart across days for the same person doing the balance.  Then the two individuals should change positions so that both people will benefit from the balancing and chart creation aspects of the activity.

Standing on One Leg Reporting Table
Name of Person Balancing:  _________________________Name of Person Measuring:  _____________________________
Date of measurementStanding LegMeasurement OrderElapsed TimeNotes
June 26Left1ScratchUnder 1 sec
June 26Left215 sec
June 26Left325 sec
June 26Left415 sec
June 26Right15 sec
June 26Right215 sec
June 26Right310 sec
June 26Right48 sec
June 26 AverageLeft3 non-scratch18.33 sec(15+25+15)/3
June 26 AverageRight4 non-scratch9.5 sec(5+15+10+8)/4
June 26 leg able to stand longerLeft

Although the above elapsed times are not actual for Dr. Klemm when she gets together with her personal trainer, her left leg is over 4 pounds heavier than her right leg. The difference in weight resulted from falling and breaking her left leg.  A metal plate was installed near her ankle and a rod connects to just below her left knee.  One year later she was in a car accident that developed  lymphedema in her legs—particularly her left leg.  With this information, why do you think she can balance longer on her previously broken leg than the one that did not break?

After 1-3 attempts on the left leg, the balancer should change legs and perform the same type of balancing on the right left.

The recorder and balancer should change roles in the activity allowing each to try balancing on one leg and creating a chart.

If this activity is performed frequently the balancer should notice their ability to balance for a longer amount of time.  Since this activity is for your own health and NOT a competition, “cheating” the amount of time will only misunderstand your personal situation and how you are improving! 

A more difficult option is to keep the eyes closed while balancing on one leg.  Make sure someone is monitoring if the eyes are closed.

Possible options for the right leg: 

  1. Bend the knee and keep off the floor in front of the body
  2. Place the right foot on the left knee in front of the body
  3. Bend the right knee off the floor behind the body

Before beginning the activity, you may want to read some of the following links to information about the benefits of standing on one leg as well as various methods on how to balance on one leg:………