Why Mosquitoes Buzz
in People’s Ears
Over the next two to three weeks, we will
integrate our Drama unit with Reading and Social Studies. We will read a
book called Why Mosquitoes Buzz in People’s Ears, and read other
books that are related to the topic of culture. The book, Why
Mosquitoes Buzz in People’s Ears, is a winner of the Caldecott Award,
and was written by Verna Aardema, who has written many well known
children's' books. This is a West African folk tale about a chain of
mishaps in the jungle. Students will use various resources, including
books, software, and the Internet, to support this unit. They will
participate in cooperative groups, work independently, produce projects,
and respond to the book through reading, writing, discussion, and
Grade Core Content
will formulate questions to guide reading. (Pre-reading)
will identify or explain literary elements (e.g., characterization,
setting, plot, theme, point of view) in a passage. (During reading)
will make inferences or draw conclusions based on what is read. (Post-reading)
will connect information from a passage to students’ lives (text-to-self),
real world issues (text-to-world) or other texts (text-to-text - e.g.,
novel, short story, song, film, website, etc.). (Post-Reading)
will describe or explain how drama has been a part of cultures and time
periods throughout history.
will identify early cultures (e.g., English, Spanish, French, West
African) in the United States and analyze their similarities and
Overview: In groups of two or
three, you and your group will complete a webquest using the picture book
Why Mosquitoes Buzz in People’s Ears. In this story, a mishap
happens in the jungle involving all members of the jungle in the problem.
You will be creating a story web identifying all the elements of literacy
using the story. Then you and your group will decide what other folk tale
you want to read to compare/contrast it to Why Mosquitoes Buzz in
People’s Ears. After finishing your story webs for each book, you
will fill in a Venn diagram as your brainstorming before beginning to
develop your PowerPoint (evaluation) to show the class. All activities
and handouts that you complete during the webquest will be kept in a
folder to be taken up at the end of the unit.
1. Before reading the book, the answer
some of the following pre-reading questions.
- Predict what the book
may be about based on what you see on the front cover. What are some things
- Predict what the book
may be about based solely on the title.
- Are you familiar with
the author? Have you read any other books by her? What can you tell us about
- What do you know about
Record your answers to the pre-reading activity
on the following handout. http://www.edhelperclipart.com/clipart/teachers/org-topic-4ideas.pdf
Label the center circle with the title Why Mosquitoes Buzz in People’s Ears.
Label the other four with: Words I Think Of, Predictions, What I Think I will
Learn, and What I Already Know, then fill in the answers to the questions.
2. Vocabulary and Diversity/Culture:
Look at the following map of
Africa and take the quiz to learn about where the story takes place.
Map of Africa quiz: http://www.enchantedlearning.com/school/Africa/Africamapquiz.shtml
Since the story takes place in the
jungle with a lot of animals, complete the following vocabulary activity to
see what animals will be in the story.
3. During Reading
Now it is time to read the story.
As you are reading the story or after you finish reading, fill in the story
web using the literary elements.
4. After Reading
First, I want you to answer the
questions individually, writing your answers down. Then, I want you to
discuss the following questions with your group.
Describe/retell the chain of events in the story. How could all of the events
have been prevented?
conclusions did each of the animals make? Were they valid?
3. Why does the
mosquito now whine in people’s ear? Do you believe this is the reason?
4. What is the
moral of the folktale?
5. What have you
learned? What have you learned about yourself? How will the story help you in
Choose another folktale from the
Read the folktale and fill out a
story web on the folktale that you choose.
After filling in the story web,
compare and contrast the story web for Why Mosquitoes Buzz in People’s Ears to
the folktale that you chose to read.
Complete the following Venn
Your group will present your
presentation and second folktale to the class. You may use PowerPoint, a
poster, Smart Board, or what ever means your group decides on.
This also will be your collaborative grade.
click here to review the criteria which will determine you
First, your group should provide a
background for the folktale you chose. Then, you want to focus on similarities
and differences between the two folktales.
You will turn in your folder after
your presentation to receive an individual grade.
click here to review the criteria on which your individual grade
will be based.
After all groups have given their
presentations, as a class we will watch Why Mosquitoes Buzz in People’s
www.unitedstreaming.com to discuss how drama has been in the African
culture and how storytelling is an important aspect of the African culture.