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Integrated Lesson Using Puppets

Updated February 2008


February 2, 2008
Nine Sessions (time length varies)
Individual and Partner
Science, Nature and the Humanities
Fourth Grade
Miss Rosalie Mannino



A. 4.2.4. C: Identify needs of people.
B. 4.3.4. A: Know that plants, animals and humans are dependent on air and water.
C. 4.3.4. B: Identify how human actions affect environmental health.
D. 4.7.4. A: Identify differences in living things.
E. 4.7.4. B: Know that adaptations are important for survival.
F. 4.7.4. C: Define and understand extinction
G. 9.1.5. B: Recognize, know, use and demonstrate a variety of appropriate arts elements and principals to produce  works of art.
H. 9.1.5. C: Know and use fundamental vocabulary within art forms.
I. 9.1.5. E: Know and demonstrate how arts can communicate experiences, stories or emotions through the production of works in the arts.
J. 9.1.5. G: Identify the function and benefits of rehearsal and practice sessions.


The students will learn the importance of Global warming and how it is affecting our world today. The students will understand why and how animals are becoming endangered or extinct. They will also learn to find ways to help make our environment a cleaner and happier place. It will also teach the students the different types of animals and the different physical adaptations enabling an animal to thrive in a cruel environment.  Students will learn how to make paper mache puppets.


After reading the story, “One Bear's Battle against Global Warming” by Jean Davies Okimotom, our class will discuss what they thought the moral of the story was. Then we will disuse the story in greater detail and I will ask each student to research on the internet the different types of endangered species. Then they will need to pick out one animal that stood out to them and they will need to write the characteristic of that particular animal.
After they're done writing about their endangered animal, I will explain to them that they need to make a puppet. When they're done creating their puppet they will need to present their endangered puppet to the class and explain why is the animal endangered? And what can we do to help this animal so it doesn’t become extinct.


Story book about Polar Bears
Many reference books available on endangered animals
Paper towels and empty toilet paper tubes
Elmer’s Paper Mache Paste
Masking Tape
Styrofoam trays
Egg containers 
Acrylic paint and brushes
Styrofoam balls
Elmer’s glue
Baby wipes


Purpose of the lesson
The purpose of this lesson is to teach students how important global warming is. It also teaches them how to take care better our environment because they will learn that global warming will only get worse if we do not do something about it now.

Prior Knowledge
Before reading and beginning the puppet project I would spend the whole week talking about nature. They should also be use to using the computer and researching information online. Finally they should also have a good understanding on how to write and reflect on what they learned about their endangered animal.

I will motivate the students by allowing them to choose their own endangered animal for the puppet project. They should enjoy sculpting their own puppet and then present for everyone to see.

Lesson 1 ( 45 minutes)

Introduction: I will start off the lesson by asking the class if they know what an endangered species is. Then I would explain to the class that we are going to read a book about Polar Bears, which is an endangered species. Then I will ask the students to gather around in a circle on the floor and to sit very quietly. After reading each page I would ask the students questions just to make sure they are following along with the story. After I am done reading the story I would ask students to think about the Polar Bear and what the main concern was. I would make them think of why the ice caps melt? Why is the melting of the ice caps a big issue for the polar bear in the story? Once we have gone over the questions I asked them to think about a fact they learned from the story. As a whole class we will make a list of what we know and what we want to understand better.

Questions and Answer: During this time, the students will ask me questions if they did not understand the key concept of the story.

Closure: To end my lesson I will ask the students for homework to look up and endangered species they would like to learn more about, write it down and bring it to class tomorrow.

Lesson 2 (45 minutes)

Introduction: I will start off the lesson going over the polar bear story and recapping what we learned yesterday about endangered species. Then I will ask selected students to share with me what they remember from the story.

I will ask each student to tell me the endangered species they choose and we will make a class list. Then I would ask each student to share laptops that I have borrow from the library and place them on their desk. Then I will explain to them that I would like each student to look up their endangered species and look up five facts about the species. I will explain that one fact has to be why their particular species is becoming extinct. In addition to the computer research, I will be sure to have numerous books on this topic available in my classroom as well.

Students will have twenty minutes to write out five facts and after they’re done, I will ask them to share their facts that they learned.

Questions and Answer: At this time students can ask me questions about their endangered animal or any other question they have about global warming.

Closure: To end my lesson I will ask the students to bring in a paper towel roll or toilet paper roll for the next class, as well as a smock or paint shirt. I will ask the students for homework to print out a picture of their endangered species. This way they can have a visual while they are making their puppets.

Lesson 3 and 4  (approx. 60 minutes each) Armature building

Introduction I will start off the class by showing them my polar bear armature that is similar to the one in the story. I will pass my armature around to the class, so they can see how it was made and develop questions. Then I will explain to each student how I constructed it and explain the similarity it has to a skeleton within them. (shape & form/framework)  I will explain what paper mache is (relating it to the skin on our bodies) and will show them my finished puppet. I will tell the students that they will be making a similar puppet, except with the endangered species they chose. I will go through step by step how I put together my puppet and go over key terms my students need to know. My vocabulary will be listed on a word wall for reference and will be included in my spelling list for the week.

Before the class started, I placed foil, newspaper, masking tape, Styrofoam balls and paper towels in bins on each table grouping. I asked students to group around my table and watch as I start to construct my armature. First I pulled out a paper towel roll which I told the students to bring, however if they forgot I would have extra. I will demonstrate building the armatures, framework. I will explain to the students that it will make it a lot easier on them if they rip their masking tape into smaller pieces and place the tape on the edges of their desks before building. I will also demonstrate to the students how they can construct arms, legs and ears out of tin foil and newspaper and attach them. They will then return to their tables and begin construction of their armatures. I will ask for a few parents to come in to help with this process.

Questions and Answer: During this time, the student can ask any questions they have about the project and a review will be presented in the beginning of the second session for clarity.

Closure:  Work will be stored on Styrofoam meat trays labeled with their names. A designated place in the room will be cleaned for the storage.

Lesson 5 and 6 (approx.60 minutes each)

Introduction: I will have the materials needed for these sessions placed on the table groupings and will ask parents to assist me in the classroom. I will then group the class around me and show my students how to apply the paper mache to their finished armatures.  I will go through the process step by step until they clearly understand how to apply paper mache. I will also explain to them that they need to overlap the paper mache so it can cover the entire armature. Then I will go over rules, such as they should always work over their trays especially with paper mache so they do not get any on their desk and that we will be using paper towels and baby wipes for cleanup. No one will be allowed at the sink for hand washing and if anyone finishes early, they will become apprentices for someone else at their table grouping. The important vocabulary will be reviewed. This process will occur in the beginning of both sessions. The final layer of paper mache will be done with paper toweling, so a base flat color for painting will be achieved.

Clean-up: I would ask each student to wipe any extra mache paste from their trays and put their puppets back onto their trays. By tables, the trays will place in the designated place in the room for drying. They will then be asked to dry wipe their tables with paper towels. Baby wipes will be handed out for their hands. Hand washing at the sink will not be allowed.

Closure: When clean-up is completed,  I will ask the students if they have any questions about the project thus far. This way I can get feedback on what they thought about the project. It can also give me an idea if I should use it in the near future. I will make arrangements for students who are not finished at the end of this two session mache process to meet with me after school  to get caught up. A note will be sent home for permission to do this.


Lesson 7 and 8 (approx.60 minutes each)

Introduction and Studio time: This session will be introduced after all the puppets are completely dry. The days between the sessions will be used for academic research. I will demonstrate the process during the first of the two sessions and then also review the process in the beginning of the second session. I will setup a paint distribution table and will have some colors loaded into Styrofoam egg cartons that can be closed and saved at the end of the session. I will re-group the class according to the major colors that will be needed for their particular animal and have these colors handed out to share. Pallets will be discussed and each table grouping will have a small bucket of water and paper towels for brush clean-up. Parents will be invited in to help.

Clean-up: I would again have a clean up person to gather all the extra paper towels and throw it in the trash. I would assign another "brush bucket" person at each table to bring me the buckets, with brushes, for me to do a final washing. Each student will move their puppet on the tray to the designate drying area.

Question and answer: When all is cleaned up,  the students will have the chance to ask me any questions about their puppet and the details they put into it.
Closure: Tell the students that tomorrow is the last day for working on the puppets and most of the students should be done. Explain to them that they can add any accessories they want to their puppet.


Lesson 9 (30 minutes)

Introduction The first thirty minutes of class I will tell the students to put their final touches on their puppets. The other half of class I will ask the students if they wouldn’t mind sharing their puppet with the class.

Studio time: The students will continue working on their puppets and putting all the details on. If there is a student that is done with their puppet they may apprentice other students, if they would like to. I will then ask the students who are done to circle and be ready to listen to the students that would like to share their puppets to the class

Clean-up: The clean-up will take place during the studio time when students are starting to finish their project.

Question and answers: I will ask the students questions about the project and what they learned. I will also ask if the students have any questions dealing with the project

Closure: I will thank and praise each student for doing such a wonderful job on the project. I will also explain the rubric to the students and how I will grade their assignment.

Endangered Species
Paper mache

I will accommodate all learners for this activity, especially ones that require and IEP. I will make sure to get the extra help I need in the classroom so I can have and extra set of eyes and hands for anyone needing assistants.


To end this lesson, I will the whole idea of doing this puppet project. We will have a discussion on what the class learned about global warming and what damages it can cause to the environment or to one habitat. Then I will ask the student to raise their hands and tell me one thing they disliked and liked about the puppet project. Then I will ask each student to pick a spot around the room to place their puppet, so when it comes time for parent’s days their parents can see all the hard work they put into making their armature.


I will not assign any additionally homework or assignments unless students did not finish any details or their facts about their puppet.


There will be a rubric handed out to each student on the paper mache project.


During the lesson I made sure to give clear examples and made sure if the class did not understand something about any materials to raise their hands. Through out the project, I had many class discussions on whether or not the class like the puppet project so I know to use it in the near future. Throughout my lesson I also try to teach the importance of global warming and it was very crucial that the class understood the concept.


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