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Lesson Plan
Title of Lesson:
Grade Level[s]:
Date to be Taught:

ARTE &'(

Playing With Light & Shadow

(Shadow Puppets)
Tyler Riordan
PVO South
First Grade
April 16th, 2015

Big Idea that drives Lesson/Unit:

Light and Shadow Can be Used to Create Stories via Performance
Sometimes, stories can be told in ways you wouldnt normally expect. For example, using
shadows to project depictions of characters or locations, either by creating puppets or by using ones
hands and body, can be used to tell a story in an engaging and creative way. This style of storytelling is
both creative and kinetic, and helps students learn about the way light and shadow work with various
mediums (paper, tissue, ones hands, etc) in order to tell a tale. Shadow puppetry has a long history in
much of the world, and many children often experiment with light and shadows themselves, by watching
what happens to their own shadows against the sidewalk as they move and the sun changes. By giving the
students an opportunity to practice both their narrative skills and by allowing them to play with a medium
that can be used anywhere, we are helping them to stretch their creative thinking, and to think outside the
box to solve problems.
Key concepts about Big Idea:
Many cultures from around the world use shadows to tell stories or as entertainment
Culture and location can affect what kinds of stories are told, and how
Light and shadow can be manipulated to change the form and actions of the characters in the
You can use yourself and your shadow as tools to create interesting stories and art
Fine Arts Goals Met by the Objectives:
25.A.2d Visual Arts: Identify and describe the elements of 2- and 3-dimensional space, figure
ground, value and form; the principles of rhythm, size, proportion and composition; and the
expressive qualities of symbol and story.
25.B.2: Understand how elements and principles combine within an art form to express ideas.
25.A.1b Drama: Understand the elements of acting, locomotor and nonlocomotor movement,
vocal and nonvocal sound, story making; the principles of plot, character, setting,
problem/resolution and message; and the expressive characteristics of simple emotions.
3-4 Essential Questions:
How can you use shadows to tell stories?
How can color show the characters emotions with shadows?
How does the light source change the way your shadow puppet looks and works?
How do different materials affect the shadows you make?
Vocabulary Acquisition:
Shadow: A dark shape created by putting something between a light and the lights shine
Puppets: A movable model of a person or animal that is often used in entertainment
Positive space: The space that a thing exists- in this case, the shadow created by the puppet
Negative space: The space that a thing does NOT exist- the area around and inside it. In this case,
the details cut out of the puppet that do NOT make shadows

Problem-Based Lesson Plan

ARTE &'(

Key Artistic Concepts:

Shadows are effective as tools because of positive and negative space
Thickness and type of the material can change the way the shadow looks
Distance from the light source can change the way the shadow looks
By combining and layering shadows you can create new shadows/shapes out of existing puppets
Artmaking Materials Needed:

Paper plates
Several sheets of colored tissue papers
Feathers (for students who finish early or dont want to use tissue paper)
Popsicle sticks
Source of light (flashlights or lamp)
Large sheet of plain single colored fabric or thin paper (to project shadows onto)

Contemporary/Historical/Multicultural exemplars:
Chinese shadow theatre
The Tale of Two Brothers selected clips, from Harry Potter 7, Part 1
INTRODUCTION: (3 minutes)
o Introduce vocabulary
o How many of you have played with your shadows in the sun?
o How do you think you can use a shadow to tell a story?
o Shadows have been used in many different ways and reasons through history
(Hist/MC/Contemp examples)

o We will be creating shadow puppets to use to tell a story as a class later.
! Description of what shadows are and how they are made
! Demonstration of how different materials can create different shadows
o Show teacher exemplars
! Girl
! Fish
! Cat

DESIGN/WORK SESSION: (5 - 10 minutes)

o Students will be creating a shadow puppet of a character of their own imagination, for use
in later shadow skits. Allow 5 - 10 minutes to collage plates, paper, feathers, and popsicle
sticks to form a shadow puppet.
o Have students in their table units brainstorm ideas to improvise a skit using their puppets

Problem-Based Lesson Plan

ARTE &'(

CLEAN UP: (2 minutes) To take place before preparing for skits. (put markers, glue, scissors,
etc. back into baggies and away, extra paper off out of the way, feathers returned to baggies,
popsicle sticks away, etc.)

SKIT SEGMENT: (8-10 minutes total)

o Call students up in their table groups one group at a time for a short, improvised
performance with their shadow puppets

CLOSURE: (3 minutes)
o Student input on what they liked/ learned about the topic
! Ex. Something new about the different kinds of storytelling, how shadows can
change shape and how that affects the story, differences between drawing/telling
a story and performing it, etc
o Upon completion of all skits or end of period, class is then over.