Students in grades 3 and 4 learned about the mechanics of shadow puppets by creating a practice puppet using a template.
They chose between a bird and a snake, and learned through the process that they needed to draw all the moving parts separately, and then fasten them together. It took us two 40 minute periods to make these in class. We had just a few minutes to practice with them in front of a shadow screen made out of a bed sheet. Those last few minutes of practice time were very fulfilling.
We made the puppets out of cereal boxes to save on resources and so that students would understand that they can make puppet at home.