One of our 4th grade classrooms recently spent time exploring the elements of fairy tales through their reading of the bookThe Tale of Despereaux by Kate DiCamillo. Students identified points in the story where the themes of family, courage, dreams, fears, prejudice, love, revenge, empathy and resilience were visible. During that same time, students were reading fairy tale books from the library with stories from around the world that incorporated the same themes. The tales were from a variety of cultures, including Persian, Indian, Native American, South American and Chinese. Students then made connections between elements of The Tale of Despereaux and the centuries-old fairy tales.
Next, teachers asked students to take one of the fairy tales they read and identify the theme that was visible in the tale and the scene in the book where the theme was highlighted the most. Then, working in pairs, students designed and built interactive storyboards highlighting the fairy tale theme. Students used soft maker materials to build the boards, including cardboard, paper and fabric. They then added interactive elements including Little Bits circuits that added motion and light to their boards. Some groups choose to use MakeyMakey, a small computer motherboard that connects to conductive materials like metal or play dough, creating interactive buttons. In this project, students connected the MakeyMakey to Scratch coding programs they created with sounds.
The final step was sharing their work! Students set up their projects in the library, and everyone had an opportunity to explore their work on these creative interactive storyboards!