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Not every individual can use every appendage and some individuals are born without or lose certain appendages. This activity will help students understand what it is like to be missing an appendage.


Brainstorm a number of simple, everyday activities. Activities could include drawing, tying shoes, opening jars, eating, handing out a stack of papers, going to the bathroom, playing a sport, etc. Ask your students to perform one or more of the brainstormed activities using only one hand. Once your students are finished with the activity, start a discussion. How difficult was it to perform activities with only one hand? What kind of things become difficult without certain appendages? What if students couldn’t use either hand? How can we make certain activities easier for those who can’t use certain appendages?

Spotlight: Bethany Hamilton

A very relevant and influential individual to cover during this lesson would be Bethany Hamilton. Bethany lost one of her arms in a shark attack when she was just 13 years old. Rather than giving up on the sport she loved, Bethany continued to surf with only one arm just a month after the attack. In 2007, she realized her dream of becoming a professional surfer and to this day, she is considered one of the best surfers in the world. Above is a video of Bethany in action.

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