- Folktales: A
Cultural Teaching Tool
- Folktale: Why Mosquitoes
Buzz in People's Ears
- Author: Verna
- Grade Level: Primary
Objective: Students will
demonstrate an understanding that folktales carry
underlying themes through writing sentences explaining
some of the themes presented in several
- Materials Needed:
- Aardema, Verna. Why
Mosquitoes Buzz in People's Ears. Dial
- Books for Young Readers,
- Kimmel, Eric A. Anansi
and the Moss-Covered Rock. Holiday House,
- Schecter, Ellen. The Boy
Who Cried Wolf. New York: Bantam
- Doubleday Dell,
- Steptoe, John L. Mufaro's
Beautiful Daughters. Lothrop Lee &
*The Boy Who Cried Wolf
has been published several times by different authors.
Feel free to use any version you wish, or you may briefly
retell it yourself.
- Introduction: Ask the
students the question: "What is a folktale?" Explain that
a folktale was
- told by adults to their
children over many generations to teach a history of
their people or to teach the children how to behave.
- Discuss this concept with the
students and ask them if folktales have an underlying
moral. Have students give examples of stories with
morals. The following are three examples.
- Pinocchio- Don't tell
- The Tortoise and the
Hare- Never give up, despite the odds.
- The Ugly Duckling- Don't
judge people from their looks.
- Body: Introduce Why
Mosquitoes Buzz in People's Ears. Tell the students
that this is a folktale from Africa and show them the
location of Africa on a map. Have them listen to the
story and try to identify the underlying message of the
story. The children should pick up an underlying message
that telling lies can cause a lot of damage.
- Tell them the story of The
Boy Who Cried Wolf. Inform them that this is
considered a more familiar folktale. Perhaps, find out
from the students who has heard The Boy Who Cried
Wolf before. Ask the students to identify the moral
and see if there are similarities between the morals of
the two stories.
- Point out that both stories
seem to have the same message even though they are from
two different cultures. Both groups want their children
to know that lying is wrong.
Evaluation: Read the two
additional stories, Mufaro's Beautiful Daughters
and Anansi and the Moss-Covered Rock. Explain that
these stories are also folktales from Africa. Have the
students write a sentence for each story explaining what
messages the stories want children to
- In Mufaro's Beautiful
Daughters, the message of the story is that people
who demean others do not win in the end.
- Anansi and the Moss-Covered
Rock brings across the message that deceiving others
- (Be fairly flexible with the
sentences the students write. Some students may identify
- different theme than those
mentioned above. The messages listed above are general
- You might ask the students what
story that they are familiar with is like Mufaro's
Beautiful Daughters. It has a similar theme as
- Tyresha Hale
- For ELED 4050, Dr. Deborah
- Utah State University
- Return to African