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        6-8, 13+

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        Math + Arts | Jack & Hardy Hard Head

        In this lesson, students create and solve problems related to scale and write and perform a scene to share their problems and solutions.

        Lesson Summary

        There are three options for this lesson, depending on class needs and time available:

        1. Frame, Focus, and Reflection (view and discuss): students will view and discuss a performance of a traditional Jack Tale and make a scale drawing of a sailing ship.

        2. Short hands-on activity: students will solve a problem related to scale and improvise a short scene to deliver their answer.

        3. Project (view and discuss): students will create and solve problems related to scale and write and perform a scene to share their problems and solutions.

        Time Allotment

        1. Frame, Focus, and Reflection (view and discuss): 1 1/2 class periods

        2. Short hands-on activity: 1 class period

        3. Project: 5 class periods

        Learning Objectives


        I can create a scale drawing.

        I can take a scale drawing and create a drawing of the same object using a different scale.

        I can create and solve problems based on scale drawings of geometric problems.

        Arts and Humanities

        I can identify how a storyteller uses voice, body, and imagination to indicate imaginary props. I can respond to drama.

        I can collaborate with my peers to improvise a short scenario.

        I can collaborate with my peers to create and perform an original scene for a traditional folktale.

        Prep for Teachers

        Elements of drama:

        Literary elements – script, plot structures (exposition, rising action, climax or turning point, falling action, resolution), suspense, theme, setting, language (word choice/style used to create character, dialect, point of view), monologue, dialogue, and empathy

        Technical elements – senery (set), sound, lights, makeup, props, costumes, and design

        Performance elements – acting (e.g., character motivation and analysis), speaking (e.g., breath control, projection, vocal expression, diction), and nonverbal expression (e.g., gestures, body alignment, facial expression, character blocking and movement, stage directions - stage left, stage right, center stage, upstage, downstage)

        Traditional storytellers make minimal use of technical elements and focus on literary elements and performance elements. In the first two activities, you will focus on language (dialect), dialogue, acting, and nonverbal expression (body movement, and facial expression). In this lesson, there is a simple costume.

        For the performance, students will write a script with a word problem to be used in a scene.


        Grid paper


        Student handouts

        A simple costume can be made for the three-headed character by folding a sheet in half lengthwise and cutting three holes for the heads. This enables students to do a better job of acting this part and communicating the idea that they are one character with three heads.

        Media Resources

        Telling Tales: Hardy Hard Head

        Learning Activities

        Frame, Focus, and Reflection

        Tell students they are going to watch a storyteller tell a Jack Tale. Ask them what other Jack Tales they know. Ask how many remember the story “Jack and the Beanstalk.” Have them recall the story of “Jack and the Beanstalk,” giving each student a chance to contribute. Explain that Jack Tales originated in the British Isles and came to America with the early settlers. In the Appalachian Mountains, the stories blended with Native American, African, and other European stories to become distinctly Appalachian stories. Jack Tales have been passed from generation to generation to pass on the traditions of Appalachian culture. Tell them they are going to watch a traditional storyteller tell another Jack Tale called “Hardy Hard Head.” Point out that traditional storytellers do not use props or scenery to tell their stories. Instead, they rely on using their voice, their body movements, and their facial expressions to help the listener “see” the scenery and props in their imaginations. Ask students to pay attention to the way that the storyteller helps the listeners imagine props like a mixing bowl, a door, and a sailing ship.

        After showing the story, ask students to demonstrate physically how the storyteller used her voice, her body movement, or her facial expression to indicate the mixing bowl, the door, and the sailing ship.

        Responding to Drama: Project and discuss the "Responding to Drama" handout. If needed, remind students that opinions will vary and being able to discuss opinions in a supportive manner is an important skill to develop.

        Math Follow-up: Ask students what they know about the minimum size of the sailing ship from the number of passengers it accommodated. Give them grid paper and rulers and ask them to create a scale drawing of the sailing ship as they imagine it. Project an image of a scale drawing of a ship to give them an idea of what you expect. Ask students to include a scale with their drawings showing 1 centimeter = x feet. Ask them to indicate on their drawing the length of the ship at the water line.

        Short Activity

        Divide students into groups of five and provide each group with grid paper and a ruler. Tell them to pretend that Jack had one more friend on his sailing ship, a three-headed friend named Figures Well. The witch bet Jack $1,000 that she could figure faster than any of his friends. Here is her challenge.

        “See this rectangle? This is a scale drawing of the king’s castle. Now, in this drawing, one centimeter is equal to eight feet in real life. And you see, this rectangle here is five and a half centimeters long and eight centimeters wide. Now, the walls of the castle are two feet thick. To win this bet, first you have to calculate the inside area of the castle and then you have to draw a new scale drawing of the inside dimensions of the castle and in that drawing, one centimeter has to be equal to 10 feet in real life. Then, you have to calculate the perimeter of that scale drawing and the perimeter of the inside of the castle. Ready, set, go!”

        Before students begin, remind them that the rectangle represents the outside of the castle and the riddle asks them to calculate the area of the inside of the castle. When the groups have solved the problem, they must improvise a scene in which they play the parts of Jack, the mean old witch, and the three-headed character Figures Well to share their solutions. Remind them not to use props but to use their voices, body movements and facial expressions to create characters.


        Each group will create a new scene for the story based on an original riddle related to scale. Team members will play the characters of Jack, the mean old witch, and three-headed Figures Well (or other characters that they invent.). Explain your expectations for the complexity of the math in the scale riddles.

        Day One: Introduce the project and divide class into teams. Explain that students will receive two scores. One will be based on solving the problems. The second will be based on their efforts to be effective storyteller/ actors.

        Pass out or project the "Storytelling Scoring Guide." Explain that every member of the team is expected to actively participate in acting out the scene that they create. Go over the scoring guide and demonstrate what is meant by “nervous behavior” (slouching against the wall, fiddling, etc.).

        Tell them their first step will be to determine the characters that will be in the scene and who will play each role. They should have one person play Jack and one play the witch. They can have a narrator who tells the story while others act it out. (You can make this optional or a requirement. It sometimes helps to have a narrator to keep the story moving along.) The other characters can be characters from the original story, Figures Well, or other characters that they invent.

        Project the "Character Chart" and lead students in filling in information about Jack. Then, give each team as many character charts as they need to develop the characters that will be in their scenes. They should complete the character charts by the end of the class period.

        Day Two: Warm Up with "Tools of a Storyteller: Body." Tell groups their task for the day is to develop the scale riddle for their story. By the end of the class period each team should have developed the problems and the solutions. Circulate as students work to make sure their work encompasses the appropriate math and is accurate.

        Day Three: Warm Up with "Tools of a Storyteller: Voice." Lead a discussion about dialect. If students are familiar with the Appalachian dialect (or another dialect used in your community), they can incorporate that dialect into their story. If not, they might discuss as a group what idioms they use in their everyday speech that are nonstandard English that they would like to incorporate into their story.

        Groups will begin to develop their scripts, improvising movement and voice as the story develops.

        Day Four: Warm Up with "Pantomime Activity."

        Pantomime Activity: Have students stand in a circle and tell them you are going to throw an imaginary ball to a student, who should catch it and throw it on to another student, who will pass it on, etc. The ball should be passed to a student who has not caught it before. They will be able to judge the size and weight of the ball by your movements and should use similar movements as they pass the ball. You will indicate who you are going to pass to by looking at them. Start the imaginary ball in motion and allow it several passes before you interrupt and tell them that as they keep catching and throwing the original ball, you are going to add a second ball (and then a third) of a different size and weight. Get the second and third balls started around the circle and see how long students can maintain passing all three balls.

        The task for the day is for students to complete their scripts and rehearse their performances.

        Day Five: Groups take turns performing their scenes. After each performance, allow students time to score their own performance using the Storytelling Scoring Guide. You could also assign audience members to score a peer.

        Formative Assessment

        What are the indicators of student progress toward or achievement of each learning target?

        Math Assessment Problems

        Teacher review of scale drawing of ship.

        Teacher review of solution to problem.

        Teacher review of problem and solution.

        Arts and Humanities

        Teacher review of "Responding to Drama."

        Teacher observation of effort and participation.

        Self and peer review using "Storytelling Scoring Guide."

        Program Review

        Where does this fit in? How should you document it?

        This activity contributes to your school’s overall efforts in art programming in several areas, depending on whether you implement just the Frame, Focus, and Reflection portion or you implement the entire project.

        Document with lesson plans and sample completed student handouts, including Storytelling Scoring Guide.

        Curriculum and Instruction: Aligned and Rigorous Curriculum

        a) To what extent does the school ensure that the arts curriculum encompasses creating, performing, and responding and is fully aligned with the Kentucky Core Academic Standards?

        b) To what extent does the school ensure that the arts curriculum provides for the development of arts literacy in all four arts discipline and also utilizes the Common Core Standards for English/Language Arts?

        c) To what extent does the school ensure that the school’s curriculum provides opportunities for integration as natural cross-curricular connections are made between the arts and other content areas?

        d) To what extent does the school ensure that the arts curriculum includes the study of representative and exemplary works of dance, music, theater, and visual arts from a variety of artists, cultural traditions, and historical periods?

        Curriculum and Instruction: Instructional Strategies

        a) To what extent do teachers systematically incorporate all three components of arts study: creating, performing, and responding into the arts?

        b) To what extent do teachers provide models of exemplary artistic performances and products to enhances students’ understanding of an arts discipline and to develop their performance/production skills?

        c) To what extent do arts teachers provide for the development of artistic theory, skills, and techniques through the development of student performances or products that are relevant and developmentally appropriate for students?

        Curriculum and Instruction: Student Performance

        a) To what extent are students actively engaged in creating, performing, and responding to the arts?

        b) To what extent do students identify a purpose and generate original and varied art works or performances that are highly expressive with teacher guidance?

        c) To what extent do students, with teacher guidance, routinely use creative, evaluative, analytical, and problem solving skills in developing and/or reflecting in their artistic performances and products?

        d) To what extent do students use written and verbal communication to objectively reflect on exemplary exhibits and live or technologically provided performances as classroom assignments?

        Formative and Summative Assessment: Assessments

        a) To what extent do teachers utilize formative and summative arts assessments for individual students and performing groups that are clearly aligned with the components of the Kentucky Core Academic Standards; and authentically measure a specific concept, understanding, and/or skill and lead to student growth?

        b) To what extent do teachers guide students to use developmentally or grade level appropriate peer review and critique to evaluate each other’s work?

        Formative and Summative Assessment: Expectations for Student Learning

        a) To what extent do teachers utilize exemplar/models to encourage students to demonstrate characteristics of rigorous work in the appropriate art form in most instructional lessons/units?

        b) To what extent do teachers share clearly defined rubrics or scoring guides with students before creating, performing, or responding assignments or other assessments; and students have the opportunity to provide input into the scoring guide?

        Formative and Summative Assessment: Assessment for Teaching

        To what extent do students regularly reflect on, critique, and evaluate the artistic products and performances of others and themselves as is grade level and age appropriate?


        Lesson Creators: Octavia Sexton, Cheryl Burchfield, and Judy Sizemore


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