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Dragon Boat Teamwork Action Card

Dragon Boat Festival teams must row together to move their elaborate boat at top speed. This traditional Chinese competition is an ideal springboard for a teamwork lesson any time of the year.

  • Directions

    1. Racing a heavy wooden dragon boat, which can be from 40 to 100 feet (12 to 30 m) in length, takes more than brute strength! Typical boats have 20 rowers and larger ones can have as many as 80 rowers. Ask students how teams keep everyone stroking together fast enough to win? Drums and gongs are used to set the rhythm. Here is one way to make a replica dragon boat with oars that move in unison.
    2. Fold sturdy paper in half like a greeting card. Lay it horizontally. With Crayola Scissors, cut a slot across the front about one-third of the way down from the fold. Cut the slot wide enough for several paper oars to slide through it and move freely.
    3. Draw the dragon boat in the area of the card from the slot down using Crayola Pip-Squeaks™ Markers. The colors of the Five Elements are frequently used to decorate dragon boats: red, black, white, azure, and yellow. Students could use school or team colors if desired. Along the top, write a saying to cheer the rowing team to victory.
    4. Cut a narrow strip from a recycled file folder the length of the card. Cut four or more oars from the file folder. Decorate each oar. Add Chinese characters or other symbols that are significant to the team.
    5. Punch evenly spaced holes for the oars along the file folder strip. Attach each oar to the strip using brass paper fasteners. Align the oars so they are parallel. Tape a string across the top of the oars. Make sure the string sticks out from both ends. (Pull the string on the finished project, the oars will move together.)
    6. Open the fold and place the oar strip along it. Slide the oars through the slot to the outside of the boat. Pull on the string ends to make sure the oars move together. Adjust as needed. Attach the oar strip inside the card with Crayola School Glue. Glue the lower part of the card together. Air-dry the glue before reenacting dragon boat races!
  • Standards

    LA: Read with sufficient accuracy and fluency to support comprehension.

    LA: Engage effectively in a range of collaborative discussions with diverse partners on grade level topics and texts, building on others' ideas and expressing their own clearly.

    LA: Produce clear and coherent writing in which the development and organization are appropriate to task, purpose, and audience.

    LA: Report on a topic or text, tell a story, or recount an experience in an organized manner, using appropriate facts and relevant, descriptive details to support main ideas or themes; speak clearly at an understandable pace.

    SS: Describe ways in which language, stories, folktales, music, and artistic creations serve as expressions of culture and influence behavior of people living in a particular culture.

    SS: Give examples of and explain group and institutional influences such as student, family member, peer play group member, or club member.

    VA: Intentionally take advantage of the qualities and characteristics of art media, techniques, and processes to enhance communication of their experiences and ideas.

    VA: Select and use the qualities of structures and functions of art to improve communication of their ideas.

    VA: Integrate visual, spatial, and temporal concepts with content to communicate intended meaning in artwork.

  • Adaptations

    Students research the Chinese Dragon Boat Festival and its significance to Chinese culture. Research is organized into a summary paragraph. Students sketch their dragon boat and take a digital photograph of the sketch which will be uploaded to a class computer. The written summary can be audtiotaped and the file attached to the student's digital photograph. The file is now available for all classmates to hear.

    China's earliest poet, Qu Yuan, is honored during every Dragon Boat Festival. Students investigate Qu Yuan's association with the Dragon Boat Festival. Read and analyze some of his poetry

    Investigate the symbolism associated with the Dragon Boat Festivals, such as the Five Elements and the Five Poisons. Where and when are these festivals held? Identify locations where these festivals are held on a world map.


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  • Creativity.
  • Capacity.
  • Collaboration.
  • Change.
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