Friday, October 26, 2012

Seed Stories: Storyboarding

The first graders had done a lot of thinking about the sunflowers and their seeds, 
so the decision was made to move from theory into story:  
How do you tell the story of a seed?  
Is there a story behind what's occurring with our plants and with the seeds?  

To stimulate their thinking, we showed the children a time lapse video 
of a sunflower seed growing to maturity: 


The students came up with a number of approaches to their seed storytelling.  Quite a few of them absolutely love comic books, so we introduced them to the idea of how to use the narrative technique of storyboarding - of taking a story and breaking it down into pages or panels - which in this instance was especially beneficial as it helped the children slow down and think more deeply about natural processes, cycles, and metamorphic stages.  


F. took a more scientific approach, creating a scientific diagram to tell the story
R's piece incorporates multiple panels throughout to tell the story
In the picture above we see a watering can, providing essential water, 
a packet of seeds, the sun, the seed sprouting, the plant flowering,  
the roots of the sunflower in the soil, pollination (the bee in the left hand corner), 
and birds coming to eat the seeds.

D's story (below) adopted a comic book quality with its narrative style, 
its wild and imaginative characters and action.

Chapter 1:  Revenge of the Raging Sunflower:  One day as seed mysteriously jumped out of its jar.  It grew and grew and grew suspiciously fast.  It grew leaves, roots and a stem.  It sucked up all the light in town.  It grew a head.  Two kids discussed what they were going to do with the sunflower.  They decided to use a Lego Monster Fighters contraption.  They placed all six moonstones into a contraption in Lord Vampire's castle.  The powers of all six moonstones joined together and the moon temporarily blocked out the sun.  The sunflower died from lack of food from the sun. 

Chapter 2:  Sunflowers with Light Sabers Come:  The guy uses a magic wand to make the sun come out again.  The sunflower probes come.  

Chapter 3:  The Zebra Shuttle Lands:  The shuttle lands and probe zebras come out.  The zebras try to eat the sunflowers.  Two sunflowers don't like each other, but they fight and with the rest of the sunflowers against the zebras.  More sunflowers grow and they launch probe seeds with green lightsabers.  From the sun, an alien giraffe shuttle was launched.  The giraffes talk about how they can defeat the zebras so they can eat the sunflowers themselves.  Then some kids took some Lego anti-venom staffs and shot off a beam of white venom that destroyed the giraffe shuttle.  The giraffes had breath masks and floated to earth.  Later on the news:  "Zebras vs. Giraffes" on CNN.  While they were fighting, the sunflowers escaped in a car.  Alien sunflowers shot down to earth. 

Chapter 4:  Zebras and Giraffes:  The giraffe cuts the zebra's head off.  The sunflowers are a mix between flowers and humans.  An explosion hits a flamingo shuttle.  The explosive material spirals downward toward earth.  A guy falls into the explosive material and he performs spinjitsu.  There are two welcome signs:  one has a happy face and one has a sad face because a giraffe pulled the face down.   There are two ninjago spinners and the Ninjago show is on tv. 


N's story (below) was also very comic in its stylings and narrative elements.  
"Fred is watering a seed the size of his head.  It growed and growed and growed until it turned into a giant sunflower with legs as roots.  He ran for cover inside his house, but then he changed his mind and used a 'back in time' gun that turned it back into a seed.  Suddenly the seed began to rumble and he turned into a giant.  He grabbed Fred."

 "An army of seeds is coming out of their jar.  The jar was in Fred's house.  These are the seeds in a close up perspective."

Later, in his story, the seeds launch a probe to help the sunflowers, and the probe shoots out a trip wire.  The trip wire trips everyone and they all go into a lake and the sunflower and the seeds drown (perhaps this is a cautionary tale about overwatering?).  Fred, the "good guy," survived and went back into his house.  

N. was later inspired to keep working on using a more traditional storyboarding format, which produced some truly insightful work - 
multiple perspectives on the seed story. 
His narration follows:

1:  The first seed appears on the scene.
2: The sun heats up the plant.
3: The rain drowns the plant - it rained too much.
4: It's dead, but it has planted its other seed.
5: The plant is disintegrating and the seed is going further into the ground.
6: Ants swarm around the dead plant.  The seed goes deeper.
7: The seed is jostled, bumped, and pushed around by worms, ants and moles.
8: The seed begins to grow.

1

1: The seed is starting to sprout.
2: The seed bursts into bloom.
3: The leaves and the bloom are starting to wilt and they're fewer roots.
4: The whole plant starts to disintegrate.
5: Ants, birds, and cats feast upon the plant, but another seed is getting planted.
6: The plant dies.  The seed is pushed into the ground.
7: The plant is shrinking rapidly and the seed is going deeper.
8: The seed is jostled upward by feet, ants, and worms.  



1: A newly budded plant - a bird flies and takes a seed away.
2: On its way back to the nest, it accidentally swallows it.
3:  He arrives back at the nest, empty beaked.
4: He poops the seed out.
5: The seed lies in a mixture of other plants - vines, hummingbird flowers, venus flytraps, patches of clover, and a 'shroom.
6: The wind blows the seed away.
7: The seed lands in a garden.
8: The seed is starting to bloom.


Note:  panel 5 and 6 are the two far right middle panels
1: Yet another seed drifts away from the plant.
2: The seed grows roots and a bud.
3: This is the flower from a sideways perspective.
4: Here's a pollinating butterfly - it will spread pollen from one plant to another.  It helps them grow.
5: The butterfly carries pollen on its legs to a different flower.
6:  Here's a magnified view of a butterfly leg showing the pollen.
7: Here's a closeup of more pollen on the flower.
8: A butterfly lands on a flower.
9:  Pollen is spreading.
10:  You can see all the things underground:  ants, worms, moles, and grubs.  
THE END

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