Created by Jenny Goodfellow

This unit on Puppetry is designed for middle school and up, to introduce students to the material and get them comfortable with performing in a safe and low exposure environment.

This is a unit that builds to a culminating experience for your students. Each lesson is designed to explore techniques, provide opportunities for creative collaboration among your students, and give them opportunities to perform. Some of the lessons require materials to build or create puppets. Puppetry can be as easy as drawing a face on your finger for finger puppets, to actually purchasing your own finger puppets for students to use.

While the focus of this unit is puppetry, your students will explore other skills as well. There’s the obvious ones of creative thinking, teamwork, and problem solving. They are also going to explore storytelling, performing skills, and playwriting.

The overview lays out the objectives for the unit, as well as lists and describes the 9 lessons in the series.
1: PuppetQuest
Through a PuppetQuest, students will learn about the different types and origins of puppetry.
2: Shadow Hand Puppets
One of easiest and earliest forms of puppetry, students will learn to create shadow puppets using just their hands. After they have practiced their creations, they will create a group/partner scene using the shadow puppets.
3: Shadow Puppet Cut-Outs
Students learn how shapes create interesting dynamics in shadow puppets. Students will have a packet of shadow puppet cut-outs. These cut-outs include animals that can be attached to a popsicle stick. In groups/partners, students will use the cut-outs in the packet to create a scene. They will also create an original cut-out.
4: Finger Puppets
If you have the resources, purchase finger puppets for this lesson. It can also be easily done with drawn faces on index fingers, or faces on popsicle sticks. Using well known fairy tales like “Little Red Riding Hood” or “The Three Little Pigs,” students will retell these stories from a different perspective, using their finger puppet.
5: Create and Character/Object Puppets
Students will bring in an object that they can turn into a puppet. Using the object puppet, students will create an original character and establish movement patterns and character voice. Character Worksheet and Practice Sheets are included, to perform their original puppet characters.
6: Hand Puppets
Students learn proper hand puppet technique and practice these techniques with a prewritten scene. Teachers can also choose to use traditional hand puppets, or students can make their own using socks/paper bags.
7: Script Writing
Students will write their own puppet play using the same format as the prewritten scene. In pairs, students will go over guidelines for creating a character and writing a scene.
8: Puppetry Company
Using the guidelines provided and their previous scene, students will create a Puppet Company complete with a logo, the name of their production, and a picture that gives clues about the production. Students will also learn about professional puppet companies.
9: Putting it All Together
This final lesson is a culminating performance. Students practice their scene using their hand puppets, then perform. Those watching will fill out a feedback sheet, which is discussed after the performance. A Unit Reflection and a Performance Reflection are included.

Standards Addressed

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