Odyssey of the Mind Curriculum Activity: Fantastic Fairy Tale

Primary Goal: Students will explore fairy tales of different cultures and create a puppet show based on their favorite fairy tale.
Secondary Goals:
analyze fairy tales from different cultures interpret literature through acting
learn puppet-making experience staging a play
Prep Time
45 minutes

-- Individuals
-- pairs
-- Small groups
-- Larger groups

Special Materials
--paints, markers and other art supplies
--boxes or sheets of cardboard to make props
--fabric and other items for costumes
Fairy tales are stories that grow from a culture's traditions. They are passed down orally, so the same story told by one person may vary from another person's version before they are written down. While each culture has fairy tales that it calls its own, certain themes are universal and are often repeated in different fairy tales. Some of the themes are courage, kindness, and conflict.

Have the class name all the fairy tales they can think of. Discuss the theme of some of the more well-known ones, then have the class vote on one to recreate in a puppet show. Read the chosen fairy tale to the class, and have students list the characters and the settings they have to create.

Introduce the process of staging a play. Assign each student a role such as director, set designer, costumer, actors, musical director, and scriptwriter. If there are more students than there are roles, have them work in pairs or small groups as, for example, director/assistant director or a script-writing team.

Divide the class into groups of 3-4 and have each group create a puppet or part of the set design. The groups should consult with the set designer and costumer first to brainstorm what the puppets and props should look like. Have one student sketch out the ideas.

Rehearse the puppet show several times and discuss character development and how the performance could vary by changing tone or inflection, movement, timing, etc. Once students feel comfortable with their performance, hold an assembly and perform the puppet show for the entire school. Have someone videotape the performance.

Have each student rewrite the chosen fairy tale as if it took place in present times. Discuss how changing the setting to present day would affect the characters' lines and costumes, and perhaps even the tale's theme. Have students change the ending of the story so it has a different outcome. Ask for volunteers to read their tale to the class.

Research fairy tales from around the world. Read several versions of the same tale as told by authors in different countries and compare them. Cinderella is a popular one.

 1.  Show the videotape of the performance, if available. Have the class critique the puppet show by saying what they liked and what they feel could be improved.
 2.  Discuss the experience of acting through puppetry. Poll students to see if participating in the puppet show allowed them to express themselves more openly than usual. Discuss the results.