Geography Language Culture History Science Math Literature ART & CRAFTS DRAMA & MUSIC
Drama: Masks and Puppets

Activity IdeasMasks for Performing Stories from Journey to the West [ChinaSprout]
Students can enact stories from Journey to the West (The Tale of Monkey) using masks such as these. See the Literature section for more on Journey to the West (The Story of Monkey).

Lesson PlanPuppets on the Move: China and the Silk Road [ArtsEdge, The Kennedy Center]
For upper-elementary (grades 5-8). Through map-making, research, and class discussions, students will gain an understanding of the dynamics of trade in China along the Silk Road, and the role of trade in urbanization throughout the Han, Tang, and Song dynasties. The lesson will culminate in student-produced and student–created shadow puppet performances that demonstrate students’ understanding of Chinese culture during the days of the Silk Road and of the connection between trade and urbanization.

Lesson PlanThe Science of Shadow Puppets [ArtsEdge, The Kennedy Center]
For upper-elementary (grades 5-8). Through online learning tools and the creation of shadow puppets and plays, students will learn how light interacts with matter. This lesson serves as an introduction to the properties of light and its role in creating shadows. While using puppets created by students and performing shadow plays, students will learn, first-hand, what differentiates opaque, translucent, and transparent materials. They will also learn how light travels and how an object’s shadow is affected by the intensity and position of light in relation to both the object and the surface on which a shadow is cast.


Flutes from Jiahu (ca. 70005700 BCE) [The Metropolitan Museum of Art]
A brief discussion of the archaeological site of Jiahu, in Henan province, where fragments of 30 flutes were discovered. Six of these flutes represent the earliest examples of playable musical instruments ever found.

The Qin [The Metropolitan Museum of Art]
An introduction to the qin, a type of zither that is “the most prestigious of China’s instruments.” Chinese lore holds that the qin dates back to the third millennium BCE.

The Pipa [The Metropolitan Museum of Art]
An introduction to the Chinese pipa, a four-string plucked lute that “descends from West and Central Asian prototypes and appeared in China during the Northern Wei dynasty (386–534).”

Lesson PlanChinese Instruments [ArtsEdge, The Kennedy Center]
For grades K-4. After being exposed to and learning about different types of instruments (string, woodwind, and percussion) in traditional western music, students explore Chinese instruments through demonstration, research, and instrument making. Students present their findings formally to the class and participate in a musical performance. Because Chinese music is often used to tell a story, students will create an original story to reflect their musical experience.

Sounds of China [ArtsEdge, The Kennedy Center]
An audio series that “explore[s] unique aspects of Chinese music through sounds, performance and interviews.” Featuring three episodes on “the endangered music of the Yunnan peoples; the tradtional sounds of the pipa, bamboo flute, qin and other Chinese instruments; and the creative space between them, where sounds ancient and avant-garde intersect.”

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© 2009 Asia for Educators, Columbia University | http://afe.easia.columbia.edu