As part of the activities for the ‘light and shadows’ unit, we got the class to make shadow puppets for a lesson about shadows. These shadow puppets had the advantage of demonstrating how shadows work by making shadow puppets and making a play with them, so they could see what shadows they made, depending on where they put the torch and their puppets.
For the first part of the lesson, students were asked the question, where are shadows and when do you see them. Many students replied well and some gave excellent and insightful answers about how and why shadows are made. This built on their understanding of shadows as a science lesson, while it helped them practice their English.
We then taught the students the new vocabulary for the lesson. This vocabulary was needed to help them make their shadow puppets and also to help them complete their workbook exercises. Students learnt words like ‘shadow puppets’ and ‘cellotape’. They repeated the new words while we listened to their pronunciation, while looking at pictures of the words. The students were then asked what the words were with the same pictures. This was to help them remember the new vocabulary. Some students could not remember some of the words, so we had them repeat the words so that they could remember better.
To help the students make the shadow puppets, we explained how to make them using English words and showed them a brief video of a shadow puppet play to demonstrate what they could make. We showed them a variety of different puppet designs to inspire them to make different puppets for their shadow puppet plays. The students made a beautiful array of different puppets and greatly enjoyed this creative side of the lesson. They told us what their puppets were in English. They then worked together in their teams to make a story with their new puppets. There were many excellent plays. One play was about the story of a Boeing 777 airplane, while another was about a girl walking through a jungle.
This was an excellent activity to build on their English skills. The students’ stories helped them practice their English. They also learnt new words to make the puppets. This activity allowed students to learn science and build their confidence speaking English through a creative activity where they chose what to do.