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Spark and Pop: The Adventure of Light and Sound
The Kaleidoscope of Life
Waterworks: Tales of the Hydrasphere

The Kaleidoscope of Life!

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These materials are part of the 2002 “Kinetic Energy” Tour.

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Michigan State University

Department of Theatre

Director: Dr. Lynette Young Overby

Costumes: Gretel Geist

Choreographers: Dr. Lynette Young Overby, Maggie Desir, and Ms. Mary Jane Hephner Gamble

Maggie Desir
Tim McCarty
Matthew Means
Sarah Walker
Alexa Prutch

Table of Contents

1. Content Standards Covered
2. Opening/Closing Chant
3. Underwater Life
4. How to Grow a Flower
5. Predators and Prey
6. What is a Microbe?
7. The Amoeba
8. The Paramecium
9. The Hydra
10. Environment & Technology
11. Rainforest Story Dance
12. Dancing the Web





 Content Standards Covered


Standard I.1-Constructing New Scientific Knowledge
Alls Students will ask questions that help them learn about the world; design and conduct investigations using appropriate methodology and technology; learn from books and other sources of information; communicate their finding using appropriate technology; and reconstruct previously learned knowledge.

Standard II.1-Reflecting on Scientific Knowledge
All Students will analyze claims for their scientific merit and explain how scientists decide what constitutes scientific knowledge; how science is related to other ways of knowing; how science and technology affect our society, and how people of diverse cultures have contributed to and influenced development in science.

Standard III.2-Organization of Living Things
All students will use classification systems to describe groups of living things; compare and contrast differences in the life cycles of living things; investigate and explain how living things obtain and use energy; and analyze how parts of living things are adapted to carry out specific functions.

Standard III.5-Ecosystems
All students will explain how parts of an ecosystem are related and how the interact; explain how energy is distributed to living things in an ecosystem; investigate and explain how communities of living change over a period of time; describe how materials cycle through an ecosystem and get reused in the environment; and analyze how humans and the environment interact.


Content Standard 1
All students will apply skill and knowledge to perform in the arts.

Content Standard 2
All students will apply skill and knowledge to create in the arts.

Content Standard 5
All students will recognize, analyze, and describe connections among the arts; between the arts and the other disciplines; between the arts and everyday life.





The Kaleidoscope of Life Chant

This song makes up the opening and closing of our show. Children are invited to join along with us by clapping.

Narrator: Good morning! We are here to explore living things with you today.
Life is everywhere, no matter where you look-in the mountains, lakes, desert, and forests-you will find an abundance of life. A kaleidoscope of colorful varieties to celebrate! Please join us in our opening chant by clapping along.

(4/4 time with strong rhythmic beat)

Celebrate! Celebrate! Celebrate!
Life! Life! Life!

Celebrate! Celebrate! Celebrate!
Life! Life! Life!

The kaleidoscope of life
Comes in many shapes and sizes!
Microbes, seeds, and sharks
In a world of great surprises!

The kaleidoscope needs balance
For everything to thrive!
Nutrients, energy, and shelter
Help is all survive!

So let’s…

Celebrate! Celebrate! Celebrate!
Life! Life! Life!

Celebrate! Celebrate! Celebrate!
Life! Life! Life!

The kaleidoscope of life!





Underwater Life

  • Ever wonder what life is like “under the sea?” Well-here’s a sneak peak!
  • You just can’t start without the kelp!
    Kelp is basically the same as seaweed (this is a more familiar term!).
    It grows so thickly under the water that it makes a forest!
    The creatures of the water use the kelp / seaweed for shelter and food.
  • Second comes the sea urchin!
    Sea urchins are like underwater porcupines!
    They have red or purple spines (or spikes).
    The urchins live at the bottom of the kelp and feed on it.
  • Next comes the sea otter!
    The sea otter looks kind of like a tiny beaver!
    It has thick brown hair and swims along on its back.
    The otter also has webbed feet (like a duck) to help it swim better.
    It eats shellfish and keeps safe by wrapping up in kelp to sleep.
  • Finally comes the white shark!
    The shark is the king of the underwater community!
    They feed mainly on fish and other water animals.
    Sharks move very fast and smoothly through the water.
  • Why do we need all these underwater creatures?
    They make up an underwater ‘family.”
    Each of the animals depends on the other for food and shelter.
    Together, they make up a circle of life (or food chain) under the sea!




How to Grow a Flower

click to enlarge

Peduncle: The stalk of a flower.
Receptacle: The part of a flower stalk where the parts of the flower are attached.
Sepal: The outer parts of the flower 9often green and leaf-like) that enclose a developing bud.
Petal: The parts of a flower that are often conspicuously colored.
Stamen: The pollen producing part of a flower, usually with a slender filament supporting the anther.
Anther: The part of the stamen where pollen is produced.
Pistil: The ovule producing part of a flower. The ovary often supports a long style, topped by a stigma. The mature ovary is a fruit, and the mature ovule is a seed.
Stigma: The part of the pistil where pollen germinates.
Ovary: The enlarged basal portion of the pistil where ovules are produced.





Predator / Prey Activity
(Written as “bears,” but adaptable for any of the animals listed on the worksheet)

Type of lesson: Interdisciplinary-Science and Creative Dramatics

Age Group and Setting: Any age and in any classroom

Time Limit: 20-25 minutes

Materials Needed: Poem / story about animal being studied & large space

Students will learn about predator/prey relationships throughout the unit. Each day the students will study one animal-a predator one day and its prey the next-for several days. At the end of the unit, the students will research their own animal and present it (older students only). This lesson focuses on the bear. Students at the end of this lesson will be able to compare two different types of bears and will learn about what they eat, how they move, and where they live. The lesson that would follow this one would be on the animal that bears eat.

1. The teacher will start off by reviewing (each day) what a predator is and what its prey is. Also, the teacher can review what the food chain is and why it’s important.
2. The teacher then reads the following and the students act it out:

We’re Going on a Bear Hunt
We’re going on a bear hunt,
We’re gonna catch a big one,
What a beautiful day,
We’re not scared.
Oh, no!
Long, wavy grass,
We can’t go over it,
We can’t go under it,
We’ve gotta go through it!
Swishy swashy, swishy swashy.

We’re going on a bear hunt,
We’re gonna catch a big one,
What a beautiful day,
We’re not scared.
Oh, oh!

Thick, oozy mud,
We can’t go over it,
We can’t go under it,
We’ve gotta go through it!
Squelch squelch, squelch, squelch!

We’re going on a bear hunt,
We’re gonna catch a big one,
What a beautiful day,
We’re not scared.
Oh, oh!
A river-
A deep, cold river,
We can’t go over it,
We can’t go under it,
We’ve gotta go through it!
Splish, splosh, splish, splosh!

We’re going on a bear hunt,
We’re gonna catch a big one,
What a beautiful day,
We’re not scared.
Oh, oh!
A forest-
A big, dark forest,
We can’t go over it,
We can’t go under it,
We’ve gotta go through it!
Stumble trip, stumble trip!

We’re going on a bear hunt,
We’re gonna catch a big one,
What a beautiful day,
We’re not scared.
Oh, oh!
A cave-
A scary, dark cave,
We can’t go over it,
We can’t go under it,
We’ve gotta go through it!
Tiptoe, tiptoe!

Through the cave-tiptoe, tiptoe,
Through the forest-stumble trip, stumble trip,
Through the river-splish splosh, splish splosh,
Through the mud-squelch squelch, squelch squelch,
Through the grass-swishy swashy, swishy swashy,
Run to the house, run up the stairs,
Oh-oh. Forgot to shut the door!
Run back downstairs, shut the door,
Run back up, to the bedroom,
Jump into bed, pull up the covers.

3. The teacher then has the students sit back down and asks them about what the bear looked like in their mind when they were acting out the story. Most will describe something like a grizzly bear. This would be correct as they live in caves. The teacher then asks if the students can think of any other type of bears.
4. The teacher tell the students that today they are going to study the grizzly bear and the polar bear. The teacher should ask the students to tell him/her about similarities and differences that they know abut these two kinds of bears. The teacher then offers the information that the students did not know about.
5. After discussing each of these kinds of bears, the teacher will read two poems / narratives that the students can act out. (See attached sheet)
6. After the students act out the two types of bears, the teacher can ask if when they acted them out they felt more of the similarities or more of the differences between the bears.
7. The teacher then tells the students what each bear eats as a lead-in for tomorrow’s lesson.

Watching the student’s movement will be a good check during each day to see if they really understand how each animal moves. Also, when the students review the next day, they must show their knowledge of the day before and the overall terms (i.e. Predator, prey, food chain).
For older students, a good adaptation would be to have them research their own animal and talk about where it fits in the food chain and characteristics of that animal. Another great idea would be to have a map of the world and mark on it where each animal is from (Geography adaptation).

This lesson is intended for use with a multiple number of animals and predator/prey combinations. All that would be necessary is some simple research to find poems/stories that are tailored to the specific animal or combination being studied.
Example combinations include:
Wolf/(prey can include deer, beavers, rabbits, squirrels, bison, & elk)

Poems / Narratives for “Bear” Lesson!

Grizzly Bear Poem

You are a huge grizzly bear with large paws,
At the ends sticking out straight are your sharp claws.
You wake up from your nap and realize you must get something to eat.
As you walk through the thick trees, you stop to eat some berries-they are very sweet.
But you are hungry for real meat, so to the river for the food you wish.
You stand in the shallow water; waiting and watching, ready to catch some fish.
With a big swipe and scoop of your paw, you get a big one.
You take it to the shore and eat while you dry in the sun.
You catch a lot more today and eat a lot.
And retire for a nap in your favorite spot.
Soon you’ll hibernate for a long time in your den,
Until the spring when you rise and stretch and do it all again.

Polar Bear Poem

You walk on the ice using your suction cup feet,
Walking steady, looking for something to eat.
Across the cold waters you spot your next meal
On top of some ice sits an unawaiting seal.
You splash into the water and swim quickly through,
Your webbed feet push the water, making the work easy to do.
You climb out and drag yourself across the ice to dry off your fur.
But then you stop, for the seal has started to stir.
You walk on towards it, stand and cover your black nose,
Now the seal can’t see you-you blend in with the snows.
Once you catch the seal, you eat and dive back into the sea,
And swim around for a while as happy as can be.





What is a microbe?

What is a “microbe?”

  • The word comes from two words…

    So…a microbe is simply “small life”

Where can you find microbes?

  • Everywhere-microbes can be found in the soil, air, rivers, and oceans.
  • They are so small that they can only be seen under a microbe.
  • There are more microbes in the world than all other living things.

Want to grow your own microbes? Here are two ways!!!


A slice of bread or thin slices of a vegetable
Handful of Grass
Disposable pie pans
Paper towel
Plastic wrap
Large glass jar with a cover

1. Take a paper towel and wet it with water. Put the towel in the bottom of the pie pan. Place a slice of bread or some vegetable on top of the wet towel. Cover the pie with plastic wrap and store it in a dark place like a drawer or cabinet for three days.

2. Take a small handful of grass and put it into a large glass jar. Fill the jar about half full of water so that the grass is covered. Put the top on the jar, but do not seal it tightly (just a little). Store the jar in a dark place for three days.





The Amoeba

What is an amoeba?

  • An amoeba is a living organism made up of only a single cell. The amoeba looks like a shapeless blob of jelly, but is such a light color that it can hardly be seen. It can be found lurking on the bottom of ponds and under rocks.

What does an amoeba look like?

  • The following is a picture of a “typical” amoeba:

How does an amoeba “work?”

  • The amoeba does not move fast, but creeps along very slowly.
  • Although the amoeba does not have arms, legs, eyes, or mouth, it still eats. The amoeba does this by slowly surrounding its prey with its jelly like body until it cannot escape.
  • An amoeba only lives for a day or two and survives by splitting into two smaller amoebas!




The Paramecium

What is a paramecium?

  • The paramecium is a microscopic organism that lives near the top of the water. The paramecium looks like a miniature slipper that swims in the water. Its body is covered all over with short, hair-like structures called cilia. The cilia help the paramecium swim through the water.

What does a paramecium look like?

  • The following is a picture of a ‘typical” paramecium:

How does a paramecium “work?”

  • The paramecium uses its cilia to help move it through the water. The cilia move back and forth and allow the paramecium to glide smoothly through the water.
  • The paramecium has a mouth that it uses to eat. This works in tow ways:

    The cilia can be moves to sweep food into the mouth.
    The paramecium has small, poisonous darts that it can shoot out between the cilia in order to kill food and then eat it.

  • The paramecium is able to move much faster than the amoeba.





The Hydra

What is a hydra?

  • The hydra is one of the few microbes that can actually be seen without a microscope. If you look at a jar of water, then the hydra will look like little tiny threads floating around. However, under a microscope, you can see that the hydra is like a monster with many heads. It has a long, thin body and many tentacles that extend near the hydra’s mouth.

What does a hydra look like?

  • The following is a picture of a “typical” hydra:

How does a hydra “work?”

  • The hydra is usually attached to the bottom of the pond. It usually moves slowly, but can move quickly by turning somersaults in the water.
  • The hydra uses three methods to eat its food:

    It uses its tentacles to lasso food, hold it tightly, and drag it into the mouth.
    Other tentacles are like sticky threads that tangle and cling to its victim.
    Some are poison darts that paralyze or kill the hydra’s food.





Environment & Technology

  • What teacher doesn’t love to see their students enjoying valuable learning time on the computer? The following is an annotated list of websites that will allow students to become actively involved in protecting and preserving their environment.

1. The MPCA Kid’s Page!

  • http://www/pca.state.mn.us/kids/
  • This website contains a link entitled ‘Students Guide to Environmental Information”. Clicking on the link leads to a wealth of information written in “kid friendly” language about the following subjects:
  • Air pollution
    Water pollution
    Land pollution
    Methods for cleaning up pollution

2. Kids Against Pollution!

  • http://www.kidsagainstpollution.org/
  • This website is the home of an organization of children called Kids Against Pollution (KAP). KAP is a multinational organization of active youth dedicated to solving and preventing pollution problems through interactive educational projects and events with the goal of protecting children’s health and the environment. The site includes:
  • Variety of environmental links
    Opportunities to pen-pal with member students
    Chances to join KAP & participate in activities

3. Tiki the Penguin-For Kids and Our Planet Earth!

  • http://www.oneworld.net/penguin/
  • Tiki’s website is an absolutely adorable website that is completely geared towards children! The site features environmental information in kids’ own language in addition to ways to help other kids-even some in Afghanistan. In addition, the site features:
    Environmental quizzes
    Fun page with jokes, puzzles, and riddles
    Guide to working with the environment
    Chance to pen-pal with Tiki himself




The Rainforest: A Kaleidoscope of Living Things


Narrator (also serves as logger-teacher is good for this role)
Gorilla Babies
Tree Kangaroos
Tropical Birds

A rainforest is like a wild garden zoo filled with exotic plants and animals. The rainforest has three layers, including the forest floor, the understory, and the canopy. Numerous insects live on the forest floor, although large mammals like gorillas and jaguars are found there too. Many smaller animals, including anteaters, lemurs, and tree kangaroos live in the understory. This is also where large numbers of small trees which can grow to be over 200 feet high. Tropical birds, monkeys, apes, snakes, and other animals live in the canopy. The animals and plants of the rainforest form a kaleidoscope of living things.

Story Dance begins. (Have characters act out what the narrator speaks. The trees are in a scattered formation on the floor. The other creatures wait on the side until they are cued to enter the space, one group at a time)

It is beautiful in the rainforest; a place in perfect harmony with nature. On the forest floor, the gorilla babies stretch, yawn, and sleep in various positions. The tree kangaroos play together in the understory. And in the canopy, exotic tropical birds fly from tree to tree looking for food.

(Students improvise and interact for a minute or two)

One day, loggers arrived in the rainforest with big chainsaws. They cut down teach and every tree. (The narrator or another group of children can do this) The animals look around and find no shelter because there are no trees. The animals cannot live without trees, so one by one they die. (Students slowly fall to the ground)

After many years, new trees are planted. The trees grow and the animals and plants return one by one. (Students slowly rise and exit to the sides)

Narrator Continues:
Once again, the gorilla babies stretch, yawn, and sleep in various positions. The tree kangaroos play together in the understory. And the beautiful tropical birds fly from tree to tree looking for food.

(Students freeze in an ending shape)

We must preserve our beautiful rainforests by caring for the environment. Each one of us can make the world a better place for you, me, and everyone on Earth.





Dancing the Web
Teresa Benzwie


Creative dance can be a connecting force uniting all aspects of the developing child with many of the arts in all areas of the school curriculum. In the dance experience, Dancing the Web, children may develop awareness not only of him or herself, but also of the world around them and how we relate and respond influences and are influenced by our universe. Self-esteem is also enhanced as each individual is permitted to select, shape, become, and feel a special part of nature of his or her own choice. Children also like to feel they have some power over their world. With the use of visualization and communicating good thoughts and feeling, children learn to respect nature, themselves, and each other, helping to create a more peaceful and harmonious world for themselves. Creative movement is a powerful force. It can excite and energize us to feel that all is possible and makes learning a vital, intimate, and holistic experience.
The following experience, Dancing the Web, from the book, “More moving experiences”, (Benzwie), was created toward these goals.

Dancing the Web

Body Awareness

Let yourself be quit and still. Become aware of your body and how you feel right now. Feel energy going through you and see where it takes your attention. As I mention each part, be aware of what you are sensing in that part without thinking of it as good or bad.

Body Visualization-The Interrelatedness of Life

Let yourself be quiet and still. Become aware of your body and how you feel right now. Feel the energy going through you and see where it takes your attention. As I mention each body part, be aware of what you are sensing in that part without thinking of it as good or bad.

Guided Visualization-The Interrelatedness of Life

Imagine a perfect world of which we are all a part and imagine yourself as an element of nature. You might be:
A blade of grass
A beetle
The trunk of a tree, strong and sturdy
A running brook going over rocks
An elephant stomping through the jungle
A dolphin playfully swimming through the ocean
A kitten chasing another kitten
A flower unfolding
The branches of a tree reaching upward toward the sun
Wind moving through space making a breeze on a hot summer day
Rain washing the earth, the rocks and the air
A huge leaf protecting some small creature in the rain forest
Birds soaring through the sky freely, wings spread wide, gliding to a rock in the
ocean or the branch of a tree


Using the image you chose, let it take over your body little by little.
Feel it in your face,







Feel your nature image fully.

Now let your body feel and move as if it were this part of nature. I invite you to move throughout the room using its qualities,





not touching any other person.

Be aware of the boundaries of other living things. Acknowledge the other as you dance toward each life form you encounter. Present yourself in your dance as if in a conversation with other parts of nature. Be fully who you are as you acknowledge your new partner.
Move freely from life form to life form, admiring the beauty and uniqueness of each part of nature.

Each new life form you come to will stimulate and inspire new shapes and movements in you. Dance with as many other parts of nature as you can.

In slow motion come together as closely as possible. Without touching, freeze the position so that we can tell if you are a huge



a cat,


another part of nature.

In this frozen moment of time, take a look around and observe the beauty of us all together, coexisting in one world.

You will be standing in this position for about five minutes. Adjust your position so that you can stay comfortable.

If anyone gets tired and needs a chair, let me know.

Once a child asked for a chair, stood on it, and said that he was the sun, watching over everyone.

Dance the Web

Now we need web-makers. Those of you who chose not to be a part of nature can now help us make the web. You will be given rolls of streamers of different colors. People of the web, you can choose to come out of the web and be the web-makers instead.

This is a good opportunity to include children who did not want to participate. I have offered them a colorful roll of crepe paper, and asked if they would help is make the web. Because they become interested through observation and have been enjoying the process, this gesture often gets everyone fully involved.

Web-makers, hand the end of your roll of crepe paper to one child to hold and then, moving in an out through other children, wind the crepe paper around, under, and over their arms, legs, shoulders, and so forth. Be careful not to wind it around their neck. Everyone likes to watch the web being created, so don’t cover anyone’s eyes. Web-makers, as other children are winding their colors through the group, you may have to step over or under the other steamers. When you have finished your rolls of paper, give the end to someone to hold or tuck it into another’s pocket or sleeve.

Now that the web-makers have finished making the web, you can move in and out and over and under the spaces of the web you have created.

Web-makers can now take a special place in the web. You may sit on the floor and look at it from below.

You may stand in one of the spaces.

You may take the shape of a part of nature and be part of the web.

Now we can move in slow motion, each of us affecting the web and one another with our movement.

Remember to move very slowly so we don’t break the web.


He web includes all living things.
One at a time, I would like you to tell the others who you are and say a few words or a sentence about yourself. I will not tell you when it is your turn. You will have to be aware of each other and not talk at the same time. You will know when it is your turn. If you choose, you may build upon the ideas of others.
One group of children who built on each other’s ideas said:
I am a flowing river.
I am a seagull soaring over the river.
I am the wind moving wherever I want to go.
I am the storm that is creating the wind.
I am a kangaroo jumping into the wind.
I am a lion chasing the kangaroo.
You are all beautiful parts of nature connected to each other, dependent on each other, giving to each other, related to each other, and growing with each other.
While we are all connected to the web we can sing a song. Sing, “Let there be peace on earth”.
We come together and we are separate.
In leaving today take a part of the web with you.


We will make a large mural of all your nature ideas.


Benzwie, T. “More moving experiences. “. Zephyr Press.