The Wizard of Oz is a classic story that dates back to the 1900 novel written by L. Frank Baum and was made into a movie of the same name in 1939. It is a musical fantasy tale that has enlightened children for decades. Familiarize your students with this story by reading from the book or showing the film in class. Then, try these activities to take this story across the curriculum in your classroom.
Follow the Yellow Brick Road (Movement, Math, Music)
Dorothy and her new friends traveled the Yellow Brick Road to Oz. Invite your students to embark on this journey with a movement game that teaches numbers and counting as well.
Cut rectangles from yellow construction paper to represent bricks. Number these from one to ten or higher, according to your students’ skill level. Laminate these using clear adhesive plastic to make the bricks durable. Tape the bricks in order on the floor leaving a small amount of space for the children to move. Instruct them to hop from one to ten so they can reach the Wizard in Emerald City. Hang a picture of Oz at the end of your trail.
When your students reach the tenth brick, have them return to the beginning of the road and start with another movement, such as jumping, skipping, marching and so on. Continue playing as long as there is interest. Playing a recording of the song, “Yellow Brick Road” will add to the fun.
Tornado in a Jar (Science)
As the tornado touched down in Kansas, Dorothy Gale was hit on the head leading her to the visions of this story. Do your students know what a tornado is?
This science activity shows children a vortex in a jar, which is a safe way to explain the dangerous forces of nature tornados can be. Let each child have a turn creating a tornado inside the jar.
You will need:
A clear plastic jar with lid
Liquid dish soap
Tiny pieces of aluminum foil
- Fill the jar with water.
- Add a drop or two of liquid dish soap.
- Shake the jar in a circular motion and observe what you see. You are creating a vortex inside the jar that represents how a tornado moves.
- Now, open the jar and add glitter and bits of foil. Seal the jar and shake it again.
- Notice how the debris spins around the tornado vortex. Discuss how dangerous a tornado can be when it touches objects on the ground and carries them up the vortex.
As a follow-up to this activity, talk about other weather patterns in the story, such as were rainbows and snow.
Create an Emerald City (Art)
Can you imagine a city where everything is green? Invite your students to create a skyline of the Emerald City in Oz using green materials you have collected in the classroom. (Here is one my students created.)
What you need:
Black construction paper
Green paint swatches (all shades)
Green tissue and construction paper
White school glue
White crayon or chalk
- Sketch a skyline or castle-like outline on the black construction paper using a white crayon or chalk.
- Encourage the children to cut a variety of green papers and materials into shapes that will fit in the outline.
- Glue these into place, like fitting pieces to a puzzle.
- Embellish parts of the city with green glitter.
There is a new children’s animated film based on the L. Frank Baum Wonderful Wizard of Oz book that debuts May 2014. Legends of Oz: Dorothy’s Return finds a way for Dorothy to return to Oz and reunite with her character friends. Voices of these characters are the following: The Scarecrow (Dan Aykroyd), The Tin Man (Kelsey Grammer), The Cowardly Lion (Jim Belushi) and Dorothy Gale (Lea Michele).
- Baum, L. Frank, The Wonderful Wizard of Oz, April 1900
- You Tube, The Wizard of Oz – Follow the Yellow Brick Road