The Lesson Plan
Themes: Imagination, Friendship, Resourcefulness, Teasing
Subjects: Language Arts, Visual Arts
Students will be able to:
- identify and discuss elements of a story
- work creatively with a partner
- make a presentation
- write or draw an imagined event
- cardboard, paper plates, paper or plastic cups, straws and other recycled material
- construction paper
- glue, tape, string
- craft paint and brushes
- art paper
The lesson begins with a reading and discussion of the story. Then the children are paired to collaborate on creating a model rocket ship out of recycled materials. Each pair of students will make a brief presentation about their rocket and what their own space voyage would be like.
The class revisits the book with a focus on the characters’ trip. The children plan their own space trip, deciding what they will need and packing their imaginary bags. They assemble at their classroom launch site and the teacher narrates their trip, using the script provided in the plan or describing what the children might observe in space and encouraging their participation. The lesson ends with each student creating a page in a class journal about their imagined flight.
Why We Like It
- This lesson plan gets the students up and moving, so important developmentally at this age. It starts with reading, then jumps to making model rocket ships! The children work together in pairs, a lesson in itself, and making a short presentation may be a first for many students. By the way, those materials you’ve been saving to use someday will be great for making rocket ships.
- Revisiting a book is important for young readers, and giving them the opportunity to brainstorm about what the characters need for their adventure is priceless. It also helps them begin to distinguish between need and want—a lifelong challenge for all of us.
- The fantasy space flight engages the children’s imagination—all without a stage or set, or hours of work for the teacher or parents! Learning in a creative, fun way, is how children learn best.
To make the characters’ trip into space as realistic as possible, Keats consulted a scientist who was also his best friend, Dr. Martin Pope. In this video, Dr. Pope talks about the world they grew up in and the world of imagination in Regards to the Man in the Moon.
A Note from Gayle
Regards to the Man in the Moon is less well-known as some of Keats’s other books, but it is a real treasure. Ezra weaves his magic in this lively book about using imagination to launch a trip to space. I found a wonderful lesson plan for first grade on the Department of Education website for Newfoundland and Labrador, Canada.