Folktales: A Cultural Teaching Tool
 

Lesson Plan
 
Folktale: Why Mosquitoes Buzz in People's Ears
Author: Verna Aardema
Grade Level: Primary Elementary
 
Background Information Link
 

Objective: Students will demonstrate an understanding that folktales carry underlying themes through writing sentences explaining some of the themes presented in several folktales.

 
Materials Needed:
 
Aardema, Verna. Why Mosquitoes Buzz in People's Ears. Dial
Books for Young Readers, 1992.
 
Kimmel, Eric A. Anansi and the Moss-Covered Rock. Holiday House, 1990.
 
Schecter, Ellen. The Boy Who Cried Wolf. New York: Bantam
Doubleday Dell, 1994.*
 
Steptoe, John L. Mufaro's Beautiful Daughters. Lothrop Lee & Shepard,
1997.

*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.
 
  1. Pinocchio- Don't tell lies.
  2. The Tortoise and the Hare- Never give up, despite the odds.
     
  3. 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 learn.

 
  1. In Mufaro's Beautiful Daughters, the message of the story is that people who demean others do not win in the end.
 
  1. Anansi and the Moss-Covered Rock brings across the message that deceiving others is wrong.
(Be fairly flexible with the sentences the students write. Some students may identify a
different theme than those mentioned above. The messages listed above are general themes.)
You might ask the students what story that they are familiar with is like Mufaro's Beautiful Daughters. It has a similar theme as Cinderella.
 

 

Table of Contents

 
Tyresha Hale
For ELED 4050, Dr. Deborah Byrnes
Utah State University 1998
 
 
 
 
 Return to African Homepage