The Topic: 

Easier - The circus is a traveling show put on by clowns, acrobats, and trained animals. A circus often travels from city to city to perform inside a big tent.
Harder - The word circus comes from a Latin word for circle or oval. Today's circus's are live events held in either tents or an arena. The circus features daring and graceful acts by a cast of acrobats, aerial artists, animal trainers, and other performers. Trained animals are also an important part of most circuses. Clowns in funny makeup and zany outfits provide comedy for the audience. The ringmaster and the circus band add to the overall color and excitement of the circus.
Circus World Museum (State Historical Society of Wisconsin)
This is the official website of a museum that collects, preserves, and interprets archival material and artifacts relating to the history of the American circus.
The Great Circus Parade
Here you can learn the history of circus parades that have always led the crowds to the showgrounds.
International Clown Hall of Fame
This site is dedicated to the preservation and advancement of clown art. It pays tribute to outstanding clowns performers, and maintains a national archive of clown artifacts and history.
Ringling Bros. Barnum & Bailey Circus
Ladies and gentlemen, children of all ages; Feld Entertainment is proud to present America's living national treasure, the online edition of the greatest show on earth®!
After exploring several circus websites, complete one or more of the following activities.
Visit, Play, and Learn at CircusWorks. Make a 'clown face sandwich', make a circus train, walk on tin can stilts, and pretend to be an elephant at CircusWorks.
Learn the Basics of Tightrope Walking. Go to Circus High Wire at Newton's Apple and learn how high-wire artists balance on a thin wire and why they carry such long poles. Or take up Juggling; visit Juggling for some help.
Debate the Use of Live Animal Acts. In addition to the sites below, visit these sites devoted to circus animals: 
1) Circus Watch
3) The Circus is not Fun for Everyone
Draw a Circus Mural. Using a large piece of white art paper, create an artwork circus by drawing and coloring the tents, rings, acts, animals, ringmaster, band and more. You might want to make a rough sketch to plan out your design before you start the final version.
Circus Lingo
Here is a glossary of some of the more common jargon of the circus world.
Another Circus Lingo site:
Cirque du Soleil Unoffical Site!
This is the website of the performance troup Cirque du Soleil.
Circus Resources
This links-site connects to resources about the history and culture of the circus!
Ecole Nationale De Cirque
This is a private educational institution whose mission is to train the next generation of circus artists. It is the only professional private school in circus arts in North America.
Juggling Information Page
Find a bunch of information on juggling at this site.
Vete's Juggling Page!
This website is about all the things that make life worth juggling.
Website for Teachers
The Circus (Courier-Journal Newspapers in Education)
Here is a brief lesson plan for learning about the circus.

advance man

'big top'




side show


circus band




steam calliope








tightrope walker

high wire


lion tamer

auguste clown



aerial act



winter quarters

long mount



liberty horse

three-ring circus


Created by Annette Lamb and Larry Johnson, 1/99 Updated, 4/00. Update by Nancy Smith 9/02