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22 March 2015

Using puppetry to understand the actions of people in the past

Here's something I tried with my Year 10 historians this week.  As part of their work on the struggle for peace in Northern Ireland, we've been looking at the impact of the Glorious Revolution on events in Ireland.  Given that the story involves a complex web of characters, each acting according to their own motives, I wanted to find an accessible way for students to understand narrative and consider the underlying causes behind it.

The material leant itself perfectly to a technique I've used before - asking students to turn what they have read into a puppet show.  I put them into groups and assigned a section of the story to each one.  They got to work cutting out characters for their puppet show and mounting them onto straws, then wrote their scripts according to the success criteria provided.

As one of the success criteria for their puppet show, students were asked to include as part of their scene an inner monologue from one of the characters in which the character would share his or her inner feelings or motives with the audience.  Puppetry will definitely be a technique I will add to my repertoire for occasions like this.

Students were engaged in the activity and showed a clear understanding of relationships between the characters in their puppet shows.

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