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Better Community, Better Life: Teachers' Lesson Plan Competition Template

[Grappling with the Ghost] [Project Lesson Plan, Toucheng Taiwan] [Humanity Primary School]

Project Synopsis Using cross-curricular methods of inquiry, students are required to investigate this once a year tradition from a variety of disciplines, utilizing their community as their primary resource. Students will be assigned to research different aspects of the festival according to their learning style. For instance, a student who is excels at English will have the opportunity to help his or her group formulate an English presentation based on findings.

Overview of the Festival Courtesy of

Another not-to-be-missed festival is "Grappling with the Ghosts" in Yilan's Toucheng. The festival was suspended for seven years due to safety concerns and was only resumed in 2004. Uniquely among Taiwan's ghost festivals, Toucheng's festival is not only about making offerings to the dead, but also serves as an opportunity for worshippers to give alms to the poor. Another aspect of its uniqueness is the strength and agility required of participants in the ceremonies. Before the closing of the gates to the underworld at the end of the seventh lunar month, structures called Gupeng are built for the festival. The Gupeng consist of twelve thick wooden supporting pillars, each about 30 meters tall, on which is a platform surmounted by thirteen coneshaped bamboo structures, each more than 30 meters tall, called Gujhan. Offerings in the form of pastries are hung on these Gujhan, and they are crowned with a flag and a gold medal called the Shunfong Flag. The finishing touch of the Gupeng is the greasing of the twelve supporting pillars, making them even more difficult to climb. The "Grappling with the Ghosts ceremony" starts at midnight. Teams of young men compete with one another to climb up the Gupeng. Whoever climbs up onto the first platform needs to topple the pastries and offerings there before continuing to climb the Gujhan. In the old days the poor on the ground would compete to garner the fallen pastries and offerings, while nowadays people try to catch them for good luck. Finally, the first climber to climb the Gujhan and cut off the Shunfong Flag and retrieve the gold medal is the winner of the festival.

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Lesson plan title: Grappling with the Ghosts Festival-ChangGu Festival in Toucheng Better Community – Better Life theme: Changing Community Curriculum area: Suggested cross-curriculum links: English & Social Studies Physics, Journalism, History Suggested level / age:

Lesson length:

Grades 6-9

Seven Weeks

Learning objectives: • • •

Document and compile information from their local culture in order to present their ideas and findings to a general audience Work effectively in groups Develop an English presentation

Links to previous learning / curriculum fit: •

The History of Toucheng

Resources: Video Camera Key Community Members Materials for Dioramas/Models (art supplies) Computers with Internet Multimedia Projector

Previous Classes Timing

Grouping s Vary Students depending are on class. divided

Activity Class 1 – Introduce the project, divide students into groups of 3-4. Generate interview questions for key community members. Focus on

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into groups of 3-4. Assign at least one student with high English ability to each group.

not only the history, but important questions for those involved directly with the event. Class 2 – Visit the members of the community and interview them, taking notes, documenting their responses with video or audio. Experience first hand the difficulty involved in climbing the oil soaked bamboo pole. Class 3 – Visit the ChangGu festival. Record key moments in the event and also record reactions to the event in a reflection. Class 4, 5, & 6 – Prepare all information and experience for the final English presentation.


Main Class Activity (Class 7) Activity

Grouping s

Each group presents their project to teachers at school and potentially other classes. Guests such as non-native speakers can also join the audience to observe and ask questions. Group projects include answers to the following questions/sitations: • • • • • • •

What is the history of the ChengGu festival? What are the current rules and regulations? Why do we still have the ChengGu festival today? Will it be around in the future? What is it like for the participants of the ChengGu festival? How difficult is it, and what are the emotions of the winners and losers? Present a model of the ChengGu poles and explain in detail the components of the stage. Why do the participants want the money or the flags? How do the communities within TouCheng prepare/donate for the festival? Summary


Grouping s

Activity • •

Students evaluate each other on their presentations, and along with teacher criticism, learn on which aspect of their presentation went well and needs improvement. Celebrate the end of a wonderful project!

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ChengGu Festival Project, Toucheng Taiwan  

ChengGu Festival Project, Toucheng Taiwan