Unicorns, Dragons, and Other Magical Creatures

Children live in a world of magic, where unicorns, dragons, and other imaginary creatures inhabit their everyday lives through imaginary play. This lesson takes advantage of students' interest in all things magical by helping them learn about fantastical creatures within a cultural and historical context. By drawing upon young students' boundless imaginations, the activities encourage students to discover similarities and differences in traditions and symbolism that exist in cultures around the world and to understand how different social meanings are embedded in make-believe creatures.

This lesson will explore images of magical creatures from around the world. After discussing the special attributes of such creatures, students will view images of specific mythological creatures from two cultures--a unicorn from the South Netherlands and a dragon from Korea--and listen to stories about them. Finally, students will create puppets representing magical creatures of their own invention, or ones based on the creatures they've learned about, and put on puppet shows, dramatizing original stories about their creatures.

Guiding Questions

What is a magical creature?

How are magical creatures different from everyday beings?

What special powers do magical creatures have?

What kinds of magical creatures are found in different cultures and in stories from around the world?

Learning Objectives

After completing the lessons in this unit, students will be able to: understand and express the meanings of the words "magical" and "creature,"

verbalize an understanding of the special attributes of magical creatures, specifically unicorns and dragons, and of how they compare to real-life beings,

discover different magical creatures and show an understanding of how they are described in stories