In this activity, you will explore Bernice Bing’s use of calligraphy in her paintings and then create your own!
Objective: Students use visual evidence to convey character by constructing a visual identity for their shadow puppet, and demonstrate principles of shadow-casting and puppet-making by performing their shadow play.
Author: Sarah Willner, Music Integration Specialist.
Artwork (see “Related Resources” below): Kumbakarna Battles the Monkeys (lintel); Kumbhakarna; Worksheet (see “Downloads” above: Shadow Puppet Template; Other Materials: Manila folder paper; Scissors + hole punchers; Tape; Sticks to move the puppets’ parts; 1 or 2 overhead projectors; Overhead transparencies; Pencils; Fine-point Expo whiteboard markers; White butcher paper clear-taped together to make a screen. (Tape long thin rope across the top. Use this to hand and secure the screen.); Shadow puppets and/or other puppets, dolls, or anything else that can cast a shadow;
*Teacher can cut out the puppet from the template to demonstrate how to make movable parts;
*Older students can work with a mat knife to cut out fine work on the puppets. If you use mat knives, put down some cardboard or a cutting board to cut onto.
Making Your Puppet
Bringing Your Puppets to Life
Optional Activities Before You Create Your Shadow Puppets:
Introduction to Balinese Shadow Theater
Lesson Duration: 1.5 hrs.
Watch and discuss the film Shadow Master. If possible, handle or view Balinese shadow puppets. Notice and discuss how the parts are moved; notice where the latticework is cut into the puppet.
Shadow Party: Experiment with Shadows
Lesson Duration: 1 hour
Preparation Duration: 45 minutes of teacher preparation to hang the screen, position the overhead projector(s), cut out model puppet parts.
*Before the rotations, demonstrate each station. Then demonstrate how to interact onscreen; for example, how to make a shadow bigger (get close to the light source). How can characters touch each other onscreen without touching in real life?
Station 1: Casting shadows on the overhead projector with leaves, small puppets, or dolls
Station 2: Casting shadows with puppets on one side of the screen
Station 3: Casting shadows with your body on the other side of the screen
Station 4: At the 2nd overhead projector casting shadows with some scenery on pre-drawn overhead transparencies of landscapes, buildings, etc.
Station 5: Accompany the action quietly with some instruments. Really follow the action! If there is no music, one station could be improvising a narration of the action.
Default Station: In front of the screen as the audience!
Students can take turns being “onscreen” when they are in their station. For example, if one group is at the station to cast shadows with their full bodies, have them take turns waiting off screen, going one by one onto the screen for a minute.
*If this activity is too busy, try having fewer stations, such as only station 1 and 3 going on at once, for example.
*If you can, hang two screens and have stations at both screens.