What parent or teacher hasn’t heard that familiar lament of children everywhere: “I’m bored!” This NFB lesson plan accompanies a film about four sisters who were exactly that—bored—but who managed to turn their boredom into a big adventure.
As a media arts educator, I was always looking for new films to capture the attention of my students, but I discovered early on that films shouldn’t merely engage and entertain: they should also make children aware of the power of the imagination. This lesson plan for the NFB animated short Big Drive enables students to explore the concepts of patience, creativity and imagination, and gives them opportunities to take part in group projects while stressing the importance of the unique contribution of every participant.
First, let me share with you what I love about Big Drive:
Watch the Film Together
Have your students observe the 4 sisters by watching the entire film with your class.
Begin the Adventure
Limitations? No way!
Point out to students that as soon as the girls start working together, boredom gives way to ingenuity: the countryside moves, the horizon is transformed into strange shapes, and objects come to life. Despite the limitations they felt at the beginning of the film, each girl blossoms by improvising a role that is complementary to the others. Ask students to identify these limitations (heat, distance, monotony, etc.) and explain how each of the characters was able to change the situation.
This is just one example of the types of activities featured in the Big Drive lesson plan.
Big Drive deals, somewhat nostalgically, with the magic of creativity and the spirit of cooperation in an era when technology did not play such a significant role in individual entertainment. The film and its lesson plan challenge educators and students to explore the possibilities of using one’s imagination without relying on technology, raising a simple question: What would you do without access to technology? A question I should ask myself more often.
Big Drive was selected as a 2013 Notable Children’s Video by the American Library Association.
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