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Broomsticks for Muggles glide through the streets of Sao Paulo, Brazil

Reuters, November 18, 2020 6:45PM Kids News

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Alessandro Russo on a broomstick in Sao Paulo. Picture: Reuters media_cameraAlessandro Russo on a broomstick in Sao Paulo. Picture: Reuters

just for fun

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Two men have been seen whizzing along the famously traffic-choked streets of Brazilian megacity* Sao Paulo on broomsticks.

On a recent Saturday, Vinícius Sanctus, 39, and Alessandro Russo, 28 coasted down the city’s main roads on a pair of broomsticks, each one attached to a single motorised wheel.

In motion, the contraptions* look uncannily* like the brooms used by witches and wizards in the Harry Potter universe, described in the famous books by British author JK Rowling and later depicted* in a series of hit films.

To steer, the driver or rider simply leans in the direction they wish to travel. While it takes a bit of practise at first, the broomsticks, which can reach top speeds of 60kmh, are useful for day-to-day urban living, they say.

“Actually, I tell my friends that now I only go to the bakery using my broom. But it’s not a joke. I actually do that,” said Mr Russo, whose waistcoat and golden tie would not be out of place at Hogwarts, the school of magic attended by the character Harry Potter. “I use my broom as a means of transportation nowadays*. And it’s so fun.”

Child actors (L-R) Rupert Grint, David Radcliffe & actress Emma Watson in 2001 film "Harry Potter & The Philosophers' Stone",   Watson/Actor movies scene broomstick media_cameraRupert Grint, David Radcliffe and Emma Watson in the 2001 film “Harry Potter & The Philosophers’ Stone”. The characters learn to ride broomsticks and use them to play their school’s main sport, Quidditch.

So far, the brooms for Muggles — non-magic people in the Harry Potter stories — are largely limited to personal use, but Mr Russo and Mr Sanctus have plans to sell the broomsticks, which cost about $1000 each. Hopefully, they say, people will be able to play a game using the brooms that closely resembles Quidditch, the popular sport in Rowling’s magical universe.

“Our final goal is to sell the brooms to the world and maybe create a new variation of Quidditch,” said Mr Russo. “And it’ll look a lot like the one played in the Harry Potter movies.”

Sao Paulo Man Creates Magical Mode of Transport With Broomstick Designed for 'Muggles'

BUSY SAO PAULO
Sao Paulo is on the east coast of Brazil in South America.

Broomsticks really would be useful in Sao Paulo.

Sao Paulo is Brazil’s biggest city. It has a population of 22 million people over a land area similar to Sydney’s. Sydney and Melbourne each have populations of almost 5 million.

Sao Paulo is regarded as one of the most congested* cities in the world. Even back in 2012, the BBC reported that on bad traffic days the jam of vehicles extended for a total of 295km along roads out of the city.

GLOSSARY

  • megacity: massive city, usually more than 10 million people
  • contraptions: machine or device that looks more complicated than expected or than it needs to be
  • uncannily: in a strange or mysterious way
  • depicted: shown, especially in a film or picture
  • nowadays: currently
  • congested: blocked up

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QUICK QUIZ

  1. In which country is Sao Paulo?
  2. Why would a broomstick be handy in Sao Paulo?
  3. What does Mr Russo wear?
  4. What game are they hoping to play on the broomsticks?
  5. What is the population of Sydney and Melbourne?

LISTEN TO THIS STORY

CLASSROOM ACTIVITIES
1. Set Some Rules
Design and information poster. The topic of your poster is ‘How to Ride Your Broomstick Safely.’

Time: allow 25 minutes to complete this activity 
Curriculum Links: English, Personal and Social Capability

2. Extension 
Design a broomstick that could be ridden in bad weather – like rain, snow, storms and high winds.

Time: allow at least 30 minutes to complete this activity
Curriculum Links: English, Design and Technologies

VCOP ACTIVITY
Punctuation Thief
Pick a paragraph from the article, or about 3 sentences together if that’s easier, and rewrite it without the punctuation. At the bottom of the page write a list of all the punctuation you stole and in the order you stole it. For example; C , . C .

Then swap your book with another person and see if they can work out where the punctuation needs to go back to.

Make it easier: Underline where you stole the punctuation from but don’t put the list at the bottom in order.

HAVE YOUR SAY: What would you do on a motorised broomstick? What would you call it?
No one-word answers. Use full sentences to explain your thinking. No comments will be published until approved by editors.

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