In the Norwegian folk tale "Three Billy Goats Gruff," three goat brothers must travel across a bridge guarded by a troll to reach grazing pastures. Two brothers trick the troll into letting them pass, saying that their brother would cross later and provide a better meal for the troll. In the end, the biggest brother bests the troll and knocks him off the bridge. Activities will allow students to share and extend what they have learned about the story.
Puppets and Masks
Students can create puppets or masks to retell the story aloud. Supply pre-kindergarten and kindergarten students with mask templates to color. Older elementary students will likely be able to create their own. With younger students, retell the story as a whole-group activity. Older students will have fun retelling the story in a smaller group. Give students paper sacks to create puppets that they can later use to tell the story.
Troll Story Telling
Students can create their own trolls with paper and drawing supplies or with clay. Ask students to name their trolls and tell something about their personalities. After the kids complete their creations, have them retell the story from the point of view of the troll. Older students could do some research and report their findings to the class. Ask the "trolls" to explain what happened after the goats crossed the bridge.
Teachers can extend activities to other disciplines with bridge building. Classes can speculate the length of the bridge in the story and then build their own model to scale. Students' ages will determine how sophisticated the activity should be. Give students craft sticks or toothpicks and let their imaginations take over. Glue is one possible adhesive, but baby marshmallows or gumdrops make colorful alternatives.
Older students can benefit from the story as well. Inviting classes to create an alternate ending to the story or asking them to determine different ways for the goats to be able to reach the grazing pasture will allow students to use higher order thinking skills. They may even find a way for the troll and the goats to cooperate. Children could choose to illustrate or write a story to explain their thinking.
- Melissa Kirk/Demand Media