Mid Autumn Moon

The third of six cross-curricular lesson plans on Autumn and Fall for Primary or Elementary School children using songs and animations, poetry analysis and writing, music analysis, instrument making, art projects and play ideas.

Mid Autumn Moon
Animation by Paula Downes, music by Andrew Downes, poetry by Li Qiao.

The Poem
A full moon hangs high in the chilly sky,
Some say it's the same everywhere,
But how can one be sure? Many thousand miles away
The moon may be under a cloud.

The moon round and bright in the starry sky - 
Some say it's the same everywhere,
But how can one be sure? 
But how can one be sure? Many thousand miles away
The sun may be bright in the day.

Poetry Discussion
The poem in the song is about the Chinese Moon Festival. 
- Show them where China is on googlemaps or on a globe.  
- When is the festival? On the night of the full moon between early September to early October.
- What does the festival Celebrate? Harvest, gathering together and praying.

Watch this video about the Chinese Moon Festival:

The Moon
Ask them if they understand why thousands of miles away the moon may be under a cloud or the sun may be bright in the day. Talk about how the moon, earth and sun move in relation to one another and explain the phases of the moon. Have one child as the sun, one as the earth and one as the moon to act the process out.

Watch the following videos:

Poetry Analysis
This poem has two verses that are very similar. What is the same? What is different? Search for nouns, adjectives, rhyming words.

Poetry Writing
Brainstorm all the nouns, adjectives (including colours), and events associated with the Chinese Moon Festival.

Ask the children to select words that rhyme from the brainstorm.

Ask them them to write a poem with the same rhyming structure and the same similarities and differences between the verses as the poem in the song.

Music Analysis
The solo unaccompanied melody at the beginning of the song is played by an er-hu, a chinese fiddle.  Watch an er-hu here:

The opening er-hu melody is then repeated 3 times: once by the singer for each verse, and once in between by the er-hu. Against this melody, the composer adds countermelodies played by different instruments. Watch the following youtube clips to get to know the sounds of the instruments playing the countermelodies.




Bowed Strings (arco):


Now listen to 'Mid Autumn Moon' again and see if you can hear the countermelodies played by the following instruments:

1st verse countermelodies: 
strings - long held notes, glockenspiel, trumpet, flute.

Between the verses countermelodies:
piano, glockenspiel, flute

2nd verse countermelodies:
strings - long held notes, glockenspiel, trumpet, piano, flute

Move on to The Cottager and her Infant

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