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High school students can teach elementary students about sustainability and environmental issues with this community service puppet project. This would work well as a student council project or with an art or theater class, the ecology club, key club, or future teachers’ organization.
Student groups/clubs are great opportunities for youth to develop organizational leadership skills. With a group of students, discuss how informative and entertaining programs can inspire children to join a cause. Urge them to consider how planning an engaging program that they would present to young students could fit their group/club objectives. Introduce the idea of producing a puppet show to promote the school district’s participation in the Crayola ColorCycle program or to teach others the power of solar energy farms. In addition to developing the script and creating the puppets, the group would plan the performance and collection of used markers with a local elementary school.
Urge students to brainstorm how an entertaining and informative script could help explain the “why to” care about the environment and “how to” participate in the ColorCycle program. What would motivate elementary age students to collect used markers and send those markers to the ColorCycle program? Help the high schoolers outline the organizational and logistics as well as creative development responsibilities. Help them identify who to contact at nearby elementary schools to arrange for a puppet show performance.
As the script is being developed, help students determine what puppet characters would be featured in the performance. Help them design the puppet characters from recycled materials and Model Magic.
Students can form their puppets around armatures, internal supports that become the foundation for the puppets. Armatures could be made by crumpling aluminum foil or using recycled materials such as plastic cups or bottles. Markers make good rolling pins for flattening pieces of Crayola Model Magic® to wrap around armatures. Model Magic that is fresh will stick to itself. Dried pieces can be glued together. Puppet decoration can be enhanced by adding texture with modeling tools. If the puppets are going to be marionettes, remind students to add holes for puppet strings before the Model Magic dries.
Once puppets are complete, have students rehearse their programs. Consider simple stage sets such as a cloth backdrop or a painted tri-fold. Encourage students to interact with their audiences after the show allowing time for a question and answer period.
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