The Bigfoot Project by HC120226094542


									The Bigfoot Project
Topic: Bigfoot, Sasquatch,
Target Age: 8-15
Planning Framework: Romantic
Unit length: 1-2 weeks
Unit author: Andrew Bellis

Moral Theme:

The unexplained. Mysterious creatures defy scientific

Imaginative Theme:

Student "cryptozoologists" research a variety of
evidence reports and present findings.

Tools of Imaginative Engagement (TIEs):
Heroic Feats and Quests:
Reports of large, bipedal, hair-covered creatures inhabiting remote wilderness areas of
Western North America are not recent "pop-culture" phenomena. The
"wild man of the woods" is a common element in First Nations oral and artistic traditions
and each group has a particular name for the creature. Written references fitting the
description of Bigfoot go back almost 200 years. While a variety of creatures, such as
"trolls" and "unicorns," have in our collective consciousness been firmly classified as
"mythological" beasts, Bigfoot has heroically avoided the same fate.

Despite lack of any "concrete" evidence of its existence (no Bigfoot has been killed or
captured), footprints, photographs, hair samples, and hundreds of sightings are reported
every year. And when startling new evidence, such as video footage of the creature,
comes to light, it receives international media attention and member of the scientific
community converge to critique the validity of the material.

If Bigfoot is real, he is perhaps the most elusive creature the world has known and his
efforts to avoid human detection are truly heroic. If he is not, he is possibly the world’s
most enduring myth. Either way, it’s a fascinating story.

Cryptozoology is the study of animals that have not been proven scientifically to exist.
Bigfoot is an animal at the "fringe" of reality. It is possible that such a creature exists and
there is fossil evidence of its past existence. Gigantopithecus blacki was the largest
primate known to have existed, and while it is assumed to have gone extinct 300, 000
years ago, it probably walked upright and fit the typical description of Bigfoot. Some
scientists believe Gigantopithecus may have crossed the land bridge from Asia between
10,000 and 30,000 years ago and survived into the modern era.


As one of the great "mysteries of the universe," Bigfoot is inherently engaging to the
typical student. Egan notes how "[w]onder is stimulated most easily by those features of
the world and of experience that are, or can be thought of as strange and exotic" (Egan
79). What could be more strange and exotic than the possibility of 7-foot human-like
primates inhabiting the North American wilderness?

Humanization of Meaning:

"Evidence" in support of the existence of Bigfoot can evoke powerful emotions. Eerie
sound recordings of howls and screams in the woods or of recorded 911 emergency calls
involving Bigfoot can be spine-chilling. Encounters with Bigfoot are often emotional
experiences for eyewitness and their accounts convey their fear, anxiety, and wonder at
the change in their perception of reality that confronts them.

Narrative Understanding:

As mentioned, Bigfoot "evidence" often takes the form of personal accounts, which are
"narratives" in themselves. As a unit, the Bigfoot project provides a narrative context for
students as they assume the role of "cryptozoologists" investigating various pieces

Revolt and Idealism:

Shunned or dismissed by the broader scientific community, many bigfoot researchers
have toiled for decades with little support for their efforts. A look at the life of
"sasquatch hunter" Rene Dahinden, who died in 1995 after more than forty years of
relentless search for the creature, is a study in "revolt and idealism."

Changing the Context

The Bigfoot project provides an opportunity to address traditional learning outcomes in a
new context. Graphing the size of the students’ footprints and stride length, for instance,
provides an interesting context for studying graphing and the "bell-shaped curve."

The Literate Eye

Collecting and organizing various forms of Bigfoot evidence into graphs, charts, and
maps will help students gain control over the knowledge acquired through their research.

Modular Theme:
The Bigfoot project will stem from a mystery introduced in the novel Ghost Canoe by
Will Hobbs. Set on the Olympic Peninsula in 1874, it alludes to a "Hairy Man" claimed
by the local Makah to inhabit the woods.

As cryptozoologists, students will look at various pieces of evidence to come to a
conclusion on the existence of Bigfoot.

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