This is a joint Social Studies and Language Arts group project revolving around the "Trickster" figure found in almost all mythologies. For the purpose of this lesson plan, I have concentrated on the animal trickster for the main lesson unit with some examples pulled from humanoid tricksters for my PowerPoint. For the Language Arts portion of the lesson plan I have found five animal tricksters from five different cultures for the students to study. These are Anansi the spider from the Ashanti people of Ghana, Africa, Pig-Boy from Hawaii, Coyote from the Native Americans of the American Southwest, Raven from the Native Americans of the Pacific Northwest, and the Monkey King from China. I have included an annotated bibliography with the books that I was able to find in my local library. Even if you are not able to find the exact copy of the book, you may be able to find the same story written by a different person. I have also highlighted the books I would use if doing this lesson plan, but gave you some more options if these are unavailable to you. In the Language Arts class, the students will be acting out and performing a skit of the story that they have chosen, therefore allowing the other students to also gain an understanding about the universal nature of the "trickster". In the labeled folders I have found pictures for the students to color of the characters in the story. They can color it and make a plaque to wear around their neck so the other students know who they are supposed to be. I have found all the pictures for the characters in my highlighted stories and characters that I named in my summaries of the other books. Just a note: I could not find a school appropriate coloring page of Pele, goddess of volcanoes, so her picture is just a volcano.
In the Social Studies portion of this lesson plan, the students will form a panel describing various aspects of the culture that produced their trickster figure. These aspects are as follows:
1. What region of the world does your trickster come from? What can you tell me about the topography, climate, animal, and plant life?
2. What is the mythology of the culture? Who are the main gods and goddesses? What do they do?
3. What are the rituals and dances in your culture? Who do you pray to? Is there a dance to bring rain or healing?
4. What is the traditional clothing of your culture? What would a person wear every day? What would a person wear on special occasions? Would the clothing change according to what special occasion is being celebrated?
5. Who is in charge? Men, Women? Are there witch doctors, shamans? Who does what?
6. What is the traditional food of the region? What would a typical meal consist of? What kind of meat and vegetables would you be using? Give us a recipe that an everyday person would prepare.
They will create a visual, either PowerPoint or display board and hand in a list of references. As I mentioned, Coyote and Raven have several Native American cultures that worshiped them, so I have also included a list of the top four cultures so the students can decide which of the Native American tribes they want to concentrate on. These top four Native American tribes are determined by which books I found at my local library about these cultures. I have also included examples of the PowerPoints concentrating on Norse mythology since I mention Loki in my examples but Norse is not a culture the students will be studying.